Selenelion: The Phenomenon Where Both the Sun and Moon Are Visible During a Total Lunar Eclipse

A selenelion occurs during a lunar eclipse when the sun and moon are observed above the horizon. Atmospheric refraction bends light rays and lifts the image of the sun, and the moon typically up to 0.6°, so both can appear above the horizon.

Flat-Earthers assert that a selenelion should not be possible if Earth is a sphere due to the fact during a lunar eclipse, the sun and moon are 180° apart. In reality, a selenelion is possible because Earth’s atmosphere refracts light.

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Earth’s Shadow and the Belt of Venus

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Earth’s shadow is the shadow that Earth casts into its atmosphere, toward the opposite point from the sun. Above Earth’s shadow is the Belt of Venus, a pink band from the scattering of sunlight through the atmosphere.

Earth’s shadow lies at the antisolar point —the point opposite the sun. It rises when the sun sets and sets when the sun rises. The phenomenon shows us that the sun really goes below the horizon and disproves the flat Earth model.

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The Sun is 1,391,016 km (864337 mi) in diameter and 146,600,000 km (93,000,000 mi) from us. These facts are consistent with everyday observations.

Flat-Earthers have a different idea about the distance and the size of the Sun. However, on careful examinations, the numbers are inconsistent with everyday observations.

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New York JFK – Moscow SVO Flight Time-Lapse Videos

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There are several time-lapse videos taken on board of a New York – Moscow flight, looking northward through a window on the left side. In the videos, the sky never looked fully dark, and the sun was visible most of the time on the flight.

Flat-Earthers erroneously assumed that the phenomenon is not possible if Earth is a sphere and that it is “evidence” the Earth is flat. In reality, everything in the videos can be easily explained and is fully consistent with the spherical Earth model.

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The Appearance of Sunset and Atmospheric Refraction

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The appearance of sunset depends on atmospheric conditions. Thermal inversion can irregularly refract light coming from the sun and distort the image of the Sun seen from an observer.

Some flat-Earthers observed a specific appearance of sunset and presented the fact as if it “proves” a receding sun in the flat-Earth model. They are wrong. The appearances of the sunsets are the results of atmospheric refraction.

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Sunset with a Solar Filter

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The apparent size of the Sun is constant throughout the day, from sunrise to sunset, seen from anywhere on Earth. This fact disproves the flat Earth model and is only consistent with the spherical Earth model.

Flat-Earthers like to show us videos of the Sun that appears shrinking during a sunset. They merely failed to control the exposure. Using a solar filter or the in-camera exposure settings, the size of the Sun will appear constant during a sunset.

The apparent size of the Sun is constant throughout the day, seen from anywhere on Earth, from sunrise to sunset. This fact is only possible if the Sun is very far compared to the distance between any two observers on Earth.

Zooming-In on the Setting Sun

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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 are claiming that zooming in on a setting sun will reveal the entire sun, and somehow lift it out of the water. They are wrong. They simply used the incorrect exposure settings. In reality, zooming on the setting sun will never reveal the sun that is already obstructed by Earth’s curvature.

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Appeal to Definition

The fallacy of ‘appeal to definition’ is using the definition of a term to support an argument as if the term cannot have other meanings or even conflicting meanings. Flat-Earthers often use this fallacy, for example, over the word “theory.”

A communication problem can occur when a term gets misinterpreted to mean other than what was intended. A simple clarification should quickly correct the problem. The appeal to definition arises if the clarification is refused, and the person insists on using the wrong & unintended meaning of the term, and use it to support their arguments.

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Flat-Earth “Perspective” is not Real-World Perspective

To an observer, the law of perspective will cause objects moving away in a straight line to:

  1. appear to approach the vanishing point but never quite reach it,
  2. never appear to go across the vanishing point,
  3. appear to shrink in size,
  4. never appear to be cut in half unless when it is obstructed by another object.

If the Earth were flat, sunsets, sunrises, and other general phenomena where objects are not visible due to Earth’s curvature should not occur. To “fix the problem,” flat-Earthers invented the explanation that the apparent obstruction of a distant object can occur on a flat Earth due to “perspective.” Their “perspective” is simply a baseless ad-hoc explanation that does not resemble how the real-world perspective works.

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Sunset on Mountains

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During a sunset, mountain peaks lose sunlight later than areas around them. From a viewer observing a mountain, a shadow can appear ascending from the base to the peak. And conversely, during a sunrise, mountain peaks get sunlight before the areas around them and a shadow can appear descending from the peak to the base.

This phenomenon occurs because the Earth is a sphere. As the altitude increases, the hours of daylight become longer. It makes the sun rise earlier and set later.

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Rayleigh Scattering

Earth’s atmosphere glows in blue because of Rayleigh scattering. It scatters sunlight to every direction. Bluish colors are scattered more than reddish colors. This results in the bright blue color of the sky in the daytime.

There are many misconceptions in the flat Earth community that arise from the lack of understanding of Rayleigh scattering.

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Visibility of the Sun on a Flat Earth

If the Earth were flat, then the Sun has to be visible above the horizon all the time, from the entire Earth. This does not occur, and the simple fact should have been sufficient to rule out any possibility of a flat-Earth.

But instead, flat-Earthers invented various convoluted chain of ad-hoc hypotheses and presented them as “explanations” to prevent the flat-Earth model from being falsified. None of the “explanations” are proven nor correspond to the way our world works.

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Sun Path

In the Northern hemisphere, the Sun appears to move to the right. In the Southern hemisphere, it appears to move to the left. During sunrise and sunset, the path of the Sun forms an angle that roughly corresponds to the latitude of the observer. This phenomenon occurs because observers on the different locations on Earth’s surface is not standing on the same plane.

The path of the Sun observed from many different locations on Earth’s surface is evidence of spherical Earth. This observation cannot possibly occur on a flat Earth.

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Sunset, Camera Zooming, and Autoexposure

There are videos showing the sun to appear to set, but after the camera is zoomed in, the sun is still above the horizon. The reason is that the camera’s autoexposure system is constantly adjusting the exposure, and in such scenes, there’s a difference in overall brightness before and after zooming in.

Flat-Earthers are taking such videos as ‘evidence’ of a receding sun. They are wrong. This is merely a matter of photography. In reality, the sun is not receding, and it has the same angular size throughout the day.

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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 Direction to the Sun vs the Position of the Sun

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If we were to observe the direction to the Sun over the entire course of the day, on multiple locations on Earth’s surface, and then plot the results on the so-called flat-Earth map; then they would not consistently point to the position of the Sun that is calculated from its location on such map.

This fact happens because the flat-Earth map is not the correct description of the real Earth.

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Shadow on Clouds

Before sunrise or after sunset, the Sun is below the horizon and not directly visible. But the sky and clouds above are illuminated because they are high above, and sunlight can reach them.

If there’s a mountain between the Sun and the clouds, it can cast a shadow on the clouds. The flat-Earth model assumes the Sun is always high above, and thus, this phenomenon cannot possibly occur in a flat-Earth.

The fact that a mountain can cast its shadow on clouds far above it is evidence that the Earth is spherical.

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The December Solstice, When the Sun Illuminates an Impossible Area in the Flat-Earth Model

The December solstice occurs between the 20th and 22nd in December, which is when the Sun reaches its most southerly excursion. Around this time, the northern hemisphere experiences winter, and conversely, the southern hemisphere experiences summer.

If we try to plot the areas that are having daytime and nighttime on the so-called ‘flat-Earth map,’ the Sun would appear to illuminate an impossible area, similar to Batman’s bat-signal. This fact tells us that the ‘flat-Earth map’ does not conform to reality.

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The Cities of Punta Arenas, Dunedin, and Murmansk During the December Solstice

During the December solstice, on December 21, the Sun reaches its southernmost point. During this time, the northern parts of the Earth are experiencing the peak of winter, and conversely, the southern regions are experiencing the height of summer.

Most flat-Earth denominations picture the sun shining like a spotlight, and they can’t explain what is happening in the southern parts of the Earth during the December solstice.

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