Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty was once used as a lighthouse. Its light can be seen from 24 miles away. Like other lighthouses, it can produce the loom of the light due to scattering in the atmosphere, which allows its light to be seen from much farther away.

Flat-Earthers use the visibility of the Statue of Liberty from 60 miles away as “evidence” of flat Earth. In reality, the effect of the loom of the light is what might be visible under clear weather, but the structure itself is not. Today, the Statue of Liberty is no longer used as a lighthouse, and nothing of it can be seen from that far away. But the information still spreads in flat-Earth communities as a hoax.

A certain unscrupulous flat-Earther published the so-called “200 proofs Earth is not a spinning ball.” His proof number 90 claimed: “The Statue of Liberty in New York stands 326 feet above sea level and on a clear day can be seen as far as 60 miles away. If the Earth were a globe, that would put Lady Liberty at an impossible 2,074 feet below the horizon.” On a closer inspection, number 81-91 in his list are all about lighthouses. And we can conclude that in number 90, he was talking about the Statue of Liberty when used as a lighthouse between 1886 and 1902.

Therefore, the explanation about the visibility of lighthouses over the horizon also applies to the Statue of Liberty. Functioning as a lighthouse, it produces the loom of the light from the scattering in the atmosphere. It is not unlike the situation where we can see the beam of a powerful flashlight even if the flashlight itself is not visible.

Today, the Statue of Liberty no longer functions as a lighthouse, and therefore no light from it can be seen from 60 miles away. But the misinformation still spread in the flat-Earth community as if it applies to the statue itself, not the light it produced when it once functioned as a lighthouse.