Atmospheric Duct

An atmospheric duct is a horizontal layer in the lower atmosphere in which a thermal inversion causes light rays to be trapped and continuously guided near Earth’s surface. They tend to follow Earth’s curvature without escaping to space.

Water heats up slower than air and will be cooler than air most of the time. In turn, the colder water cools down the layer of air just above it, creating a thermal inversion that can form a duct.

It is the reason flat-Earthers like to perform observations from very close to the water’s surface. It will be easier for light to bend, revealing objects that are geometrically behind the curvature. Then, they will incorrectly attribute it to “the lack of curvature.”

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Experiments Involving Flashlights, Laser, & Reflected Sunlight Over Water Surface

Atmospheric refraction is stronger near the surface. Additionally, a thermal inversion can form a duct guiding light ray to follow the curvature of Earth. These phenomena allow light rays to reach the viewer far behind the horizon, but the rays will be compressed, distorted, and scattered, and will not form the true image of the objects. However, a nondescript, intense point light source will stand out against a darker background.

Flat-Earthers like to perform experiments involving lasers, flashlights, and mirrors over the water surface. If the light is visible from the other side, they would wrongly conclude Earth’s curvature does not exist. In reality, atmospheric refraction causes the result they observed.

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The Appearance of Sunset and Atmospheric Refraction

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The appearance of sunset depends on atmospheric conditions. Thermal inversion can irregularly refract light coming from the sun and distort the image of the Sun seen from an observer.

Some flat-Earthers observed a specific appearance of sunset and presented the fact as if it “proves” a receding sun in the flat-Earth model. They are wrong. The appearances of the sunsets are the results of atmospheric refraction.

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