An ultra wide-angle lens produces images with an extremely wide angle of view. A lens with a focal length shorter than 24 mm (full-frame equivalent) is considered an ultra wide-angle lens. Ultra wide-angle lenses come in two varieties: rectilinear lens and curvilinear, or fisheye lens.
Because of their wide field of view, Earth’s curvature is easier to observe using an ultra-wide lens. Flat-Earthers incorrectly assumed it means a fisheye lens that distorts straight lines. In reality, there are rectilinear ultra wide-angle lenses that preserve straight lines. With these lenses, if the horizon looks curved, then it must be due to Earth’s curvature itself.
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Camera zoom works by enlarging the center portion of the image, or in other words, by making its field-of-view narrower. Zooming in on the setting sun will not reveal more of the sun and will only enlarge the size of the sun in the resulting image.
Flat-Earthers claim that zooming in on a setting sun will reveal the full sun and somehow lift it out of the water. In reality, they used incorrect exposure settings, making the sun still above the horizon appear already half-obscured by Earth’s curvature.
Zooming on the setting sun will never reveal the sun already obstructed by Earth’s curvature.
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The magnitude of the curvature that appears in a photograph of Earth’s curvature depends on several factors:
- The observer’s altitude.
- The camera’s field of view or focal length.
- The distortion characteristics of the camera lens.
Flat-Earthers like to dismiss a photo of Earth’s curvature by comparing it to another photo showing a different amount of curvature. In reality, to compare the visible curvature, we need to ensure all the images were taken from the same altitude, same field of view, and account for the lens’ distortion.
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Cameras with a fisheye lens are used in the ISS, high-altitude balloons, rocket bodies, and other purposes. The reason is that fisheye lenses have several advantages over rectilinear lenses.
Flat-Earthers claim there is an evil intention behind the usage of fisheye lenses. In reality, the use of fisheye lenses is not unreasonable. If it is desired to have a rectilinear image output, then it is not hard to defish fisheye images to rectilinear ones..
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Because of a perspective effect, an observer in space can see more of Earth’s surface if they are farther from Earth.
Flat-Earthers noticed the different visible Earth’s surface in different Earth images and used it to “prove” they are fake. In reality, it is just a perspective effect caused by the fact that the Earth was seen from a different observer distance.
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Earth seen from the Moon will appear 3.7× larger than the Moon seen from Earth. However, if a photograph of Earth is compared to that of the Moon, the sizes of both objects also depend on the field of view of the cameras that were used to capture them.
Flat-Earthers discovered the size of the Earth in a photograph is not 3.7× the Moon in another picture. They used the fact as “evidence” of wrongdoing. In reality, the two photos were not taken with the same field of view, and cannot be compared directly.
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Zooming in makes the camera’s field of view narrower, and in effect, it magnifies the center portion of the image. Zooming in using the optical zoom can improve angular resolution, but will never reveal a distant object that is obscured by another object.
Flat-Earthers claim that zooming in will fully reveal a ship that is partially obscured. In reality, the proportion of the ship which is hidden compared to that which is visible stays the same in the entire zoom range.
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The International Space Station (ISS) is only about 400 km above the Earth’s surface, only 6% farther from the center of the Earth than the Earth’s surface. Therefore, only a very small part of Earth’s surface is visible from the ISS at any time.
Flat-Earthers like to examine photos of the Earth from the ISS and compare them to those taken from a much farther location. They would take any difference as an inconsistency. In reality, the ISS can only observe a very small part of the Earth, unlike spacecraft much farther away.
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How an object appears in a photograph depends on perspective —the position of the camera relative to the object—, and field of view of the camera. The farther the object, the smaller the object will appear in the resulting image; and conversely, the closer the object, the larger it will appear. The narrower the field of view, the larger the object will appear in the image; and conversely the wider the field of view, the smaller the object will appear.
Flat-Earthers take the varying proportions of the Earth & Moon in different pictures as a glaring inconsistency. They are wrong. The pictures were simply taken from a different perspective and field of view.
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