The Variation of Earth’s Gravitational Acceleration

The gravity of Earth varies on the different location on Earth. The variation is caused by the difference in latitude, altitude or depth, and local geology & topography. In most cases, the centrifugal acceleration from Earth’s rotation is also already accounted for in the value of Earth’s gravitational acceleration.

Flat-Earthers claim that according to science, the Earth’s gravitational acceleration is always constant at 9.8 m/s² everywhere on Earth. And they are using the claim to prove Earth is not a rotating sphere. In reality, the magnitude of Earth’s gravitational acceleration varies on the different location on Earth.

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Einstein’s Thought Experiments and Daydreaming

Albert Einstein used thought experiments as a tool for formulating his theories. His theories provided predictions that can be tested in observation and experiments. He did not perform the observation and experiments himself. Others did and confirmed his theories.

Some flat-Earthers dismiss Einstein’s theories —especially those about gravity— on the basis that they are founded on thought experiments and daydreaming. They are wrong. His theories have been repeatedly confirmed by various experiments and observation performed by many others, even to this day.

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Cavendish Experiment

The Cavendish experiment was the first experiment to measure the force of gravity between masses in the laboratory and the first to yield accurate values for the gravitational constant.

Flat-Earthers are in a constant effort to discredit the Cavendish experiment. They would invent various “explanations” to “explain” the result of the experiments. However, the experiment was not only done once by Henry Cavendish in 1797-1798, and has been replicated numerous times by multiple independent parties for centuries, all yielding consistent results.

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Weight = Gravitational Force

The weight of an object is the force exerted on the object by gravity. The gravitational force exerted by the Earth on an object is what we refer to as ‘weight’.

Many flat-Earthers fail to understand that the gravitational force is just another name for ‘weight’. Many misconceptions in the communities of flat Earth victims arise from such a misunderstanding.

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Theories of Gravity

Gravity is a natural phenomenon by which all things with mass or energy are brought toward one another. Today, the phenomenon of gravity is explained by two theories: Newton’s law of universal gravitation and Einstein’s general relativity.

Flat-Earthers take the existence of the two explanations as inconsistency in science and use it as a “proof” of deliberate misconduct. Such allegation is obviously only a result of their prejudice. The two theories are the correct explanations of gravity, and can reliably predict the outcome of the phenomenon.

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Buoyancy is an upward force exerted by a fluid (liquid or gas) that opposes the weight of an immersed object. Buoyancy happens because the fluid has a pressure gradient. Pressure gradient occurs because the fluid is affected by acceleration, such as the Earth’s gravitational acceleration.

Flat-Earthers makes buoyancy as an “explanations” on how things fall. They are wrong. Without Earth’s gravitational acceleration, buoyancy will not occur.

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Countering Gravity

Gravity is not the only force. There are other forces, too. Multiple forces can simultaneously affect a single object. Forces can counteract gravity, making an object move against the direction of gravity. Such facts do not disprove gravity.

Flat-Earthers take the fact there are objects that move against the direction of gravity as ‘evidence’ of the non-existence of gravity. They are wrong. There are forces other than gravity affecting the object, having the opposite direction from gravity, with at least the same magnitude.

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Orbital Station-Keeping

A satellite in a high enough orbit can remain operational for a very long time because in space there is practically no air resistance. This is a situation that never occurs in our everyday life. A car requires a constant consumption of fuel to keep running, but a satellite can remain in motion without consuming any fuel because there’s practically no force stopping it.

Flat-Earthers claim that satellites cannot stay up there for such a very long time because ‘we never refuel any satellites.’ They are wrong. In space, there is practically no drag, and satellites only need to consume fuel to adjust their speed periodically.

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Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation

Gravity is a natural phenomenon by which all things with mass or energy are brought toward each other. In 1687, Isaac Newton explained the phenomenon as a force, which was formulated in Newton’s law of universal gravitation.

Flat-Earthers insist that gravity does not exist. But this is only a result of a mere ignorance on how gravity works. Everything in our lives is consistent with what is explained in Newton’s law of universal gravitation.

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Schiehallion Experiment

The Schiehallion experiment was an experiment to determine the mean density of the Earth. It involved measuring the tiny deflection of a pendulum due to gravitational attraction from the mountain of Schiehallion, Scotland. The measured deflection was 11.6″ or 0.003°.

Flat-Earthers claim that it is impossible to demonstrate gravity and that it is evidence gravity does not exist. They are wrong. The Schiehallion experiment was one of the first practical experiments of gravity done on Earth.

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The so-called “Experiment” Done by Flat-Earthers

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We often see flat-Earthers create a ‘miniaturized physical model’ of a real object and present them as ‘proof’ in support of flat-Earth and against spherical Earth. Their M.O. is to observe if the model remotely resembles the actual object in a particular way. If it does, then it is enough for them to conclude the model describe how the real object works.

Conversely, if a real object cannot be miniaturized and still have the same behavior as the original object, they would conclude that the behavior of the original object doesn’t exist.

They would wrongly call creating such models “doing an experiment”.

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The Ball and Water ‘Experiment’

Gravity is the attraction between objects with mass. The attraction is greater if the objects are more massive. The shape of the object practically doesn’t affect the magnitude of the attraction provided the objects are spaced far enough.

Flat-Earthers like to perform the ball-and-water ‘experiment’. They spray water to a ball, then observe the water does not stick to the ball the same way seawater stays on the surface of the Earth. They would conclude that ‘gravity does not exist’. They are wrong. The spherical shape of the Earth (and the ball)does not cause gravity, Continue reading “The Ball and Water ‘Experiment’”

A Glass of Water

The surface of the water in a glass of water is practically flat. Some flat-Earthers claim this is ‘evidence’ that the surface of the water is flat, and it will always be flat no matter how wide the container. They are wrong.

If the Earth is a sphere with the radius of 6371 km (3960 miles), then the surface of the water in a 10 cm (4 in) wide glass will have a bulge of 0.00000002 cm as the result of gravity, excluding other effects like the surface tension.

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The Directions of Up and Down

The directions of up and down are determined from the direction of the Earth’s gravitational acceleration. Up is in the opposite direction, and down is in the same direction as the Earth’s gravitational acceleration.

Flat-Earthers are often seen making fun of this fact. They show us ‘upside down’ pictures taken in the southern hemisphere. They are wrong. To anyone in the southern hemisphere, down is in the same direction as the Earth ‘s gravitational acceleration, the same as anyone in the northern hemisphere.

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The Hypothesized Graviton and Flat-Earthers’ Zeal to Disprove Gravity

Some flat-Earthers mentioned the fact that graviton —the mediating particle of gravitation— is ‘not yet observed’. They took this fact as ‘proof’ that gravity does not exist.

Often they would triumphantly show us screenshots of the table of fundamental particles they took from Wikipedia and other sources. In the ‘gravitation’ column, they would point out its mediating particle has not been observed yet. And they would conclude that scientists are aware gravity does not exist, and we all have been lied to.

Obviously, they are wrong on all accounts.

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Free Fall

Things fall down because of gravity. The mass of the Earth causes everything to fall down at 9.8 m/s² near the surface of the Earth. This constant is called ‘gravitational acceleration’ and usually denoted by ‘g’.

Most flat-Earthers deny the existence of gravity. According to them, things fall down because of density or buoyancy, not gravity. They are wrong.

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