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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In images taken using a fisheye lens, a straight line will remain straight if it crosses the center of the image. We can use this attribute to determine if a line is straight in reality.
In any fisheye videos taken from a high altitude, there should be plenty of moments where the horizon crosses the center of the image, and we can use those to determine that the horizon line is curved in the real world.
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Defishing is a process for removing barrel distortions in fisheye images. It takes fisheye images, and convert them to normal, rectilinear images that preserve straight lines. Different fisheye lenses can have a different amount of distortions, and thus, require a different defishing strength.
Some flat-Earthers would deliberately use stronger defishing parameters than necessary for the lens being used. Their intention is not to remove the barrel distortion in the resulting images, but also to introduce pincushion distortions to the images. Pincushion distortion is the reverse of barrel distortion. It would curve a straight line to the other direction from what would be produced by the barrel distortion in fisheye lenses. At a specific position in the scene, it would make the curved horizon to appear flat.
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The amount of horizon curvature that appears in a photograph of the horizon depends on several factors:
- The altitude of the observer.
- The field of view of the camera.
- Lens distortions of the camera.
Some flat-Earthers assume that we should see the same amount of Earth’s curvature everywhere. And when they see the different amount of curvature in the different picture of Earth’s curvature, they wrongly took it as “proof” of some sort of misconduct.
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A large amount of flat Earth memes present an image taken from a high-altitude balloon, showing the appearance of a flat horizon. Such images evidently cannot be regarded as “proof” of a flat Earth. The horizon appears flat only because of the barrel distortion from the fisheye lens.
The following is how any unscrupulous flat-Earther try to deceive us using footages from high-altitude balloons.
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Many adherents of flat Earth have spent a lot of effort and money to perform various observations and experiments. They would buy expensive equipment, travel to the other side of the world, painstakingly designed the experiments in minute details, and performed large-scale experiments; all to prove the notion that Earth is flat. However, many of these experiments and observations have actually confirmed the Earth is a sphere beyond any doubt.
In most cases, they would not accept such conclusions, and instead, they misinterpret, refuse to accept, lie, and withhold information. Such behaviors are the results of confirmation bias. However, their results speak louder than their biased conclusions, and these are perfectly valid proofs that Earth is a sphere.
These are some of those observations and experiments, where flat-Earthers have painstakingly and extravagantly performed them, only to come up with the wrong conclusions and spectacularly demonstrating their confirmation biases to the entire world.
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A fisheye lens distorts images. It results in images having barrel distortions. In a fisheye lens, a straight line can appear curved. But some flat-Earthers don’t realize that the opposite is also true, a fisheye lens can easily make a curved line look straight.
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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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A good majority of pictures of Earth taken from space are being dismissed by flat-earthers merely because they are made using fish-eye lenses. They believe any curvature of Earth shown in those pictures is the result of the fisheye effect, and thus, cannot be used as evidence of Earth’s curvature. They even take a step further and assume a fish-eye lens is deliberately used to take every picture of the Earth taken from a high altitude so that they would have a curvature in it.
These claims are, of course, ungrounded. In some cases, we can conclude the curvature is there, even when a fish-eye lens is being used. We can use this useful property of any photographic lens:
A straight line will appear straight as long as it crosses the center point of the image.
Continue reading “Fisheye Lenses and Earth Curvature”