Flat-Earthers reject the existence of satellites. They are wrong. To prove the existence satellites, we can attempt to take pictures of the ISS when an ISS transit happens, or the ISS passes in front of the Sun or the Moon.
Drag is a force acting opposite to the relative motion of an object moving with respect to a surrounding fluid. The higher the density of the fluid, the higher the magnitude of the drag.
Flat-Earthers claim that it is impossible for satellites to have such high speed. Usually, they would compare the speed of satellites to something like the SR-71 Blackbird, which holds the record as the fastest aircraft. They are wrong. At the altitude where satellites reside, the air density is several magnitudes smaller compared to near the surface, and thus, the drag experienced by satellites is also several magnitude smaller.
Action cameras are being used in high-altitude balloons, rocket launches, and the ISS because they have some advantages compared to other cameras. And most action cameras are equipped with a fisheye lens.
Flat-Earthers allege that there is an evil intention behind every use of fisheye lenses, especially in space and high-altitude usages. They are wrong. The use of fisheye lenses is not unreasonable. And if a rectilinear result is desired, it is trivial to convert any fisheye footage to a rectilinear one.
It is not hard to spot satellites. Satellites can easily be seen under the following conditions:
- They are easier to see the larger and the closer they are.
- The darker the sky, the easier to see them.
- Satellites are visible only when they are lit by the sunlight.
Because of these conditions, satellites are usually seen a few hours after sunset or a few hours before sunrise.
Flat-Earthers claim that satellites can never be seen, and the fact is evidence that “satellites don’t exist”. They are wrong. Satellites can easily be seen under the right conditions.
In photography, the starburst effect gives the illusion of light rays from strong light sources in an image. The effect happens when the lens’ aperture is not a perfect circle, and it gets more pronounced under narrower aperture.
Flat-Earthers often find themselves looking for any peculiarity —no matter how small or unbelievable— in order to discredit any picture they deem unacceptable to their misguided causes. One of this peculiarity is the starburst effect.
“Why don’t we see satellites in photos taken from the ISS?” (or from space in general). That’s a recurring question within the flat-Earth community, usually asked without expecting an answer, assuming that an answer is impossible, and that it is a glaring oversight when the powers that be purposefully made the picture using CGI.
But no, the pictures are real. And satellites are not visible because they are too far spaced apart from each other.
Thermosphere is a layer of the Earth’s atmosphere from about 95 km to 600 km. It is named ‘thermosphere’ because its temperature increases with altitude. Temperature in the thermosphere can reach 2500°C.
Flat-earthers question this fact a lot:
“If temperature in the thermosphere can reach 2500°C, then how is it possible for human to travel to space? Not to mention that many satellites —including the ISS— are in the thermosphere.”
Short answer: air density in the thermosphere is much, much lower than at the surface of the Earth.
When a photo of spherical Earth is pointed out to flat-earthers, they would dismiss it as CGI in the blink of an eye; even if they haven’t done any analysis at all. They do this because their belief in flat-Earth is not evidence based, and any evidence contrary to their beliefs needs to be invalidated no matter how.
They are so used to doing it and sometimes they become confused by it themselves, to the point that they would take a slightest hint of digital manipulation of any picture of the Earth as an evidence of the flat Earth.
“So, where’s the curvature? If we can’t see it using our own eyes then there’s no curvature, and hence, the Earth is flat!”
That’s a very common position held by most flat-Earthers. So, let’s do some simulation to show that the condition they are demanding is completely unrealistic. We’ll be using the excellent curvature simulation tool by Walter Bislin.