Curvature of the Horizon in High-Altitude Balloon Footage

High-altitude balloon footage is often abused by flat-Earthers to show us that the Earth is flat when seen from a high altitude.

We analyzed more than two dozens of footage taken from high-altitude balloons on YouTube, and we can easily conclude the curvature is there and usually easy to spot, including in the cases where flat-Earthers use the video as ‘proof’ of a flat Earth.

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How the Sun ‘Burns’ Without Air in Space

A candle gets its flame from combustion, a chemical reaction. The hydrocarbon that formed the candle reacts with oxygen, and we get carbon dioxide, water, and heat energy as the results. The oxygen is obtained from the air. If the air supply is cut off —for example by covering the candle with a glass— then the reaction will stop, and the flame goes out.

We hear flat-Earthers often claimed that it is impossible for the Sun to be in space. They said the Sun burns, and therefore it requires oxygen. Space is empty, so it is impossible for the Sun to be there. They are wrong. The reaction that is occurring in the Sun is not combustion. It works differently from what happens with the candle.

Nuclear fusion powers the Sun.  It fuses hydrogen atoms into helium atoms. All the necessary component for the reaction to happen is in the Sun, and the reaction doesn’t require matters from external sources.

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The Eratosthenes Experiment: Proving the Earth is Spherical

In 205 BC, Eratosthenes successfully determined the circumference of the Earth by measuring the length of the shadow cast by a rod. He did the measurement in Alexandria and timed it to coincidence when the Sun is directly overhead Syene.

2222 years after that, some flat-Earthers tried to refute the Eratosthenes experiment. They say the experiment can be applied to the flat-Earth model.

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The Earth is Spherical and The Amazon Never Flows Uphill Anywhere

The Amazon never flows uphill, or in other words, ascend to a location farther from sea level anywhere in the Amazon basin.

Flat-Earthers often claim that if the Earth is spherical, then the Amazon will have to flow uphill to overcome the curvature of the Earth. They are wrong.

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Equipotential: a Property of the Surface of Water

Gravity causes water to seek the lowest potential, which can be simplified as the position as close as possible to the Earth’s center of gravity. As a result, the surface of the water will have equipotential surface and form an approximately spherical surface which has the same center as the Earth. Every location along the surface has the same potential.

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Atmospheric Refraction

Light waves are not always moving in a straight line. When it passes through a medium of a different refractive index, the waves will deviate. The phenomenon is called refraction and described according to Snell’s Law.

Earth’s atmosphere has variation in air density that depends on the altitude. As the refractive index changes with the density of the medium, light waves passing through Earth’s atmosphere also experience refraction.

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The Illusion of Clouds Appearing ‘Behind’ the Sun or the Moon

Sometimes, we can see clouds appearing as if they are behind the Sun or the Moon. Obviously, this is merely an illusion. But some flat-Earthers regard this as ‘evidence’ that the Sun and the Moon are close and apparently closer than some clouds. They are wrong.

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The Starburst Effect is not Evidence of CGI

In photography, the starburst effect gives the illusion of light rays from strong light sources in an image. The effect happens when the lens’ aperture is not a perfect circle, and it gets more pronounced under a narrower aperture.

Flat-Earthers often find themselves looking for any peculiarity —no matter how small or unbelievable— to discredit any picture they deem unacceptable to their misguided causes. One of this peculiarity is the starburst effect.

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The Aether Experiments are Never Evidence of Flat and Stationary Earth

Aether was the hypothetical material that fills the region of space. It was assumed to be the medium that allows light and gravity to propagate in space. Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, some experiments were carried out to prove if the aether exists.

Flat-Earthers (and geocentrists alike) often use the results of these experiments to support their case that the Earth is stationary. But they are wrong. These experiments were conducted to prove if the Aether theory, or if one of its competing hypotheses —like the Special Relativity— better explains reality.

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Long-Range Wi-Fi and the Curvature of the Earth

Wi-Fi is one of the most common ways of getting connected to the Internet. Practically all short-range wireless network use WiFi. Using specialized equipment, Wi-Fi is usable over a very long distance, even over hundreds of miles.

When designing a long-range Wi-Fi link, we must account for the curvature of the Earth.

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Hot Air Balloon and the Force of Gravity

A hot air balloon rises because it has buoyancy. Buoyancy is the upward force that is exerted on the trapped hot air because its density is lower than the surrounding air. If buoyancy is greater than the force of gravity — or the weight of the balloon—, then the balloon will rise.

The basic physics escape most flat-Earthers. To them, the fact that a hot-air balloon rises is an ‘evidence’ that gravity does not exist. They believe things go up or down because of density. They are wrong.

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The Mockumentary ‘Dark Side of the Moon’

The film ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ is a mockumentary. It is fictional but presented as if it is a real documentary. The film features guests like Donald Rumsfield, Henry Kissinger, Alexander Haig, Vernon Walters, Buzz Aldrin, and Stanley Kubrick’s wife. In the film, they all pretend that the Moon landings were faked, and created in a studio by Stanley Kubrick.

There are many doctored versions of the film circulated on the Internet. Usually, the ‘giveaways’ are cut to make the film more believable. Then, the film is presented as ‘evidence’ that the Moon landings did not happen. Unfortunately, many believe these edited versions of the film and don’t realize the events in the movie are entirely fictional.

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Antarctic Ice Domes: Not The Dome That is Supposedly Enclosing the Earth

An ice dome is one of many forms a glacier can take. It is an upright ice surface in the higher altitude portions of an ice cap or an ice sheet. There are many such features found on icy terrain. And Antarctica is no exception.

When an ice dome gets mentioned, flat-Earthers often confuse it with the mythical dome enclosing the Earth as described in most flat Earth model. No such dome actually exists.

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The Apollo Missions and Van Allen Radiation Belts

Van Allen Radiation Belt is a zone of radiation encircling the Earth. To flat-Earthers, Van Allen Radiation Belt is ‘evidence’ of the impossibility of space travel. To the rest of us, the Van Allen Radiation Belt is one of the challenges which is not impossible to overcome.

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Lake Pontchartrain Power Transmission Lines: Evidence of Earth’s Curvature

Lake Pontchartrain is a lake in Louisiana, United States. There are power transmission lines about 24.27 km (15 mi) across this lake. They are practically straight, and each tower is uniform and has the same height, making these towers ideal for observing the curvature of the Earth.

They were first popularized by Soundly who presented evidence of Earth’s curvature using a series of photos and videos of the power lines in June 2017. As of now, the towers and other objects on the lake are probably the most popular Earth curvature tourism spot in the world.

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The Fallacy of Moving the Goalposts

Flat-Earthers often commit the fallacy of moving the goalposts. When their claim has been proven wrong, they would revise their claim and demand another evidence that is harder to fulfil. They would do this repeatedly until they present an unfalsifiable claim, a claim that is impossible to prove.

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Crepuscular Rays

Some flat-Earthers consider crepuscular rays as evidence that the Sun is not far. In their mind, the Sun is only about ±5000 km circling above us. In reality, the actual distance of the Sun is ±150 million km.

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Flat-Earth Ideology and The Fallacy of Lonely Fact

Flat-Earthers often commit the fallacy of ‘hasty generalization’. They would draw the conclusion from limited sample that fail to represent the entire population. Sometimes they would even draw the conclusion from a single case, and it becomes the fallacy of ‘lonely fact’.

Furthermore, they would deliberately cherry-pick cases that support their position, and use those to disprove the other cases that are against their position.

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Star Trail: Evidence the Earth is a Sphere and Rotating Around Its Axis

In the northern hemisphere, if we look at the sky to the north, we can observe stars rotate counter-clockwise around a point. This axis of rotation is not visible from observers in the southern hemisphere.

On the other hand, in the southern hemisphere, if we look at the sky to the south, we can observe stars rotate in the opposite direction. Conversely, this axis of rotation is not visible from observers in the northern hemisphere.

This motion of the stars cannot possibly happen in a flat-Earth. The motion of the stars is a proof that the Earth is round and rotates around its axis.

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Appeal to CGI of the Second Form

Another CGI related fallacy regularly committed by flat-Earthers has the general form of:

  • Observation: there’s no photo or video of the object ‘X’ that is not made with CGI.
  • Conclusion: ‘X’ does not exist in the real world

This is invalid for two reasons:

  1. A real object is still real even if nobody has taken a photo of it.
  2. The premise itself might be invalid because there could be someone who has a photo of the object, and the perpetrator of the fallacy is simply unaware of its existence.

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