Chang’e 4 and the Confusion About the Dark Side vs Far Side of the Moon

China’s Chang’e 4 spacecraft has successfully landed on the Moon. It is the first ever spacecraft to land on the far side of the Moon.

Unfortunately, some news outlets used the term “dark side of the Moon” which is inaccurate. The side of the Moon where Chang’e 4 landed is not always dark, but instead always facing away from the Earth. That part of the Moon has the same day and night cycle like the side that is facing us and is not always dark.

Flat-Earthers were confused that the spacecraft use solar panels. If the side of the Moon is always dark, then it should be pointless to use solar panels. They took these facts as “proof” of some sort of misconduct. They were simply confused about the term some news outlets were using. The correct term is “far side of the Moon.”

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Tycho Crater

The Tycho Crater is a crater on the Moon having the diameter of 85 km (53 miles). It is too small to recognize using the naked eye. However, it lies on a bright colored highland that can be mistaken as the crater itself. The crater also has an extensive ray system, which was from the ejected materials when the crater was formed.

Flat-Earthers claimed the visibility of the Tycho Crater proves the Moon is not that far. They are wrong. We cannot see the Tycho Crater using the naked eye. What is visible is the highland it lies on or its extensive ray system.

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Sunlit Objects and Visibility of Stars

Generally, sunlit objects are far brighter than any stars. It is the reason stars are not visible in a lot of photographs showing sunlit objects unless the objects are overexposed and made much brighter than the correct exposure.

Flat-Earthers take the lack of stars in photographs as evidence of misconduct. They are wrong. If the primary object in the picture is sunlit, then in most cases, stars will not be visible.

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The Dark Sky on the Lunar Daytime

On Earth, daylight sky is glowing in bright blue due to Rayleigh scattering. Sunlight is scattered in every direction by the oxygen and nitrogen molecules in Earth’s atmosphere.

Such the phenomenon does not happen on the Moon, causing the dark sky of the Moon. Flat-Earthers claim that the dark sky of the Moon captured by photos and videos taken from the Moon are “proof” there is misconduct. They are wrong. Just because Earth’s sky is bright blue, it does not mean it will be like that on the Moon and other planets.

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Lunar Libration

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The Moon is tidally locked. Half of the Moon is always facing the Earth. However, due to libration, we can take a glimpse of areas of the moon that are not always visible.

Flat-Earthers invented many “scenarios” to “explain” how the so many lunar-related phenomena can happen on the flat Earth model. Some of these “explanations” include “transparent Moon”, “hemisphere-shaped Moon”, “flat circular Moon”, etc. Lunar libration rules out the majority, if not all, of these “explanations.”

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Stellarium

Some flat-Earthers like to observe celestial phenomena and the positions of celestial objects. Sometimes, they insist such events cannot possibly happen if the Earth is a sphere orbiting the Sun, and took the wrong conclusion that the Earth must be flat.

We can try asking them the time of the occurrence and the position of the observer, then use Stellarium or similar applications to simulate it. If the result matches the observation, then they have nothing to complain about. Their confusion was only the result of their ignorance.

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Lunar Craters

At any time, the Sun illuminates one half of the Moon and the other half dark. The phase of the Moon is the shape of the sunlit portion of the Moon as viewed by observers on Earth.

The phase of the Moon can never be adequately explained using the flat Earth model. To deal with this inconsistency in their theory, some perpetrators of flat Earth invented an ‘explanation’ that the phase of the Moon is not caused by sunlight. They are wrong. We can observe the Moon very carefully using telescopes of high-zoom cameras, and it will be evident how the lunar craters are lit. And this can only happen if the Moon is sunlit.

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Illuminated Fraction of a Full Moon

A lunar eclipse does not happen every month because the orbit of the Moon is tilted 5.145° to Earth’s orbit around the Sun. And thus, the Earth does not always cast its shadow on the Moon during maximum opposition. Instead, a full moon occurs.

Some flat-Earthers take this as ‘evidence’ that a full moon cannot possibly happen because the geometry does not allow for a 100% illuminated Moon. They are wrong. In reality, a full moon is never 100% illuminated.

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Geometry of a Full Moon

Some people are confused that a full moon is visible all night, and think if the full moon is the result of the opposition of the moon from the sun, then a full moon should be visible only at midnight.

Flat-Earthers who have such spatial visualization problem take a step further and use it as ‘evidence’ that the Earth is not a sphere. They are wrong. The full moon phenomenon can easily be explained in the spherical Earth model.

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The Orientation of the Moon

The Moon looks practically identical from everywhere on Earth because the Moon is very far relative to the distance between observers on Earth. However, its orientation is different when observed from the various locations across the globe. The reason is that the Earth is a sphere: the different observers are not on the same plane and have the different orientations themselves.

Some Flat-Earthers have spatial awareness difficulties and present the difference of the orientation of the moon as ‘evidence’ of a flat Earth. They are wrong. If in their model the Moon is close, we should be able to see the different face of the moon on the different location on Earth. But we clearly don’t.

Total Lunar Eclipse, Drawn to Scale

Any diagram showing two or more celestial bodies is almost never drawn in the correct scale. The reason is that in most cases, any two celestial bodies are spaced too far away relative to their sizes. It is just not possible to draw them in the correct scale and still effectively describes what we want to explain. We don’t have much choice other than drawing them not to scale.

The perpetrators of flat-Earth disseminate the allegations that the diagrams were drawn not to scale because of evil intentions, and not because of legitimate technical reasons. Some people don’t understand this and fell victim to flat-Earth indoctrination.

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The Saros Cycle and Prediction of Eclipses

A long time ago, Babylonians carefully maintained records of the occurrence of eclipses and used these records to predict future eclipses. To honor that, in 1691, Edmund Halley named the interval in a cycle of eclipse using a Babylonian unit of time: the “Saros.”

NASA explained the Saros in a web page titled Eclipses and the Saros, and the unscrupulous flat-Earthers were quick to devise a conspiracy theory. They invented the scenario that NASA —a space agency with billions of dollars of a budget— are somehow using ancient technology to predict the occurrences of an eclipse. They are wrong. NASA does not use the Saros Cycle to predict eclipses.

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Phases and Side of the Moon

In the real world, the Moon is spherical. It doesn’t emit its own light; it gets its light from the Sun. The Moon is tidally locked, causing one side of it to be permanently turned towards the Earth. The lunar phase occurs because of the change in the position of  Sun-Earth-Moon with respect to each other.

Any flat-Earth model fails to explain many Moon-related phenomena. Flat-Earthers who insist on defending their misguided flat-Earth concept at all costs are forced to invent many “explanations” on how Moon-related events might happen on a flat-Earth.

Simple observation tells us that we always see the same side of the Moon, but the phase changes in a month-long cycle. These facts rule out the majority of the “explanations” invented out of thin air by flat-Earthers, including the “Moon emits its own light”, “half-sphere Moon” and the “transparent Moon” explanations.

References

The Moon in Daytime and the ‘Transparent Moon’ Misconception

Earth’s atmosphere scatters sunlight in every direction. Bluish colors are scattered stronger than reddish tones. As a result, the sky is glowing in bright blue during the day. The phenomenon is called the Rayleigh scattering.

Sometimes the Moon is visible during the day. The bright part of the Moon is bright because it is lit by the sunlight. On the other hand, its dark part does not receive sunlight, and thus barely emit any light. Because of these reasons, the dark part of the Moon is dominated by the blue color of the sky.

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Total Solar Eclipse, Drawn to Scale

Any diagram showing two or more celestial bodies is almost never drawn in the correct scale. The reason is that in most cases, any two celestial bodies are spaced too far away relative to their sizes. It is just not possible to draw them in the correct scale and still effectively describes what we want to explain. We don’t have much choice other than drawing them not to scale.

The perpetrators of flat-Earth disseminate the allegations that the diagrams were drawn not to scale because of evil intentions, and not because of legitimate technical reasons. Some people don’t understand this and fell victim to flat-Earth indoctrination.

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The Phase of the Moon and a Ball

The phases of the Moon depends on the position of the Moon relative to the Earth and the Sun. They occur because the Moon is spherical & lit by sunlight and that the Sun is very far away. Both imply that the Earth is spherical too.

The phases of the Moon according to observation cannot be explained in any flat-Earth model. Flat-Earthers had to invent various explanations to explain how the lunar phases can happen in the flat-Earth model. None can explain how a ball has the same phase as the Moon when seen from the same direction as we see the Moon.

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Galilean Moons: The First Objects Observed to Orbit Another Object

Jupiter possesses four large moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. These are called the Galilean Moons. They are easy to observe and the first objects found to orbit a planet other than the Earth.

Flat-Earthers are often seen demanding proof that an object can orbit another object. All they have to do is to use a telescope to observe Jupiter and its Galilean moons.

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Apollo Mission Profile

The Apollo missions really happened and humans have actually visited the Moon. If someone fell victim to the flat-Earth conspiracy, then it would imply that they also fell victim to the Apollo moon landing conspiracy. But they are wrong. 

Someone usually fell for the moon landing conspiracy theory because of emotional appeals and confirmation bias, but also because of their ignorance of the Apollo mission profile itself.

The following is a very brief description of the Apollo mission profile, numbered according to the numbers in the illustration.

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