The lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic reduces air pollution in India. As a result, the Himalayas have become visible from 200 km (125 miles) away, consistent with the expectation if the Earth is a sphere 6371 km (3959 miles) in radius.
Flat-Earthers assert that the visibility of the Himalayas cannot possibly occur if Earth is a sphere as the distance is too far away. In reality, while the range is very far, the peaks are also very high, reaching more than 4400 m above sea level.
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Dizzib’s Earth Curve Calculator is one of the most popular Earth’s curvature calculator on the Internet. However, it does not account for atmospheric refraction and, therefore, unsuitable for determining the visibility of a distant object.
Many flat-Earthers used Dizzib’s calculator to analyze the observation of the visibility of a distant object and led them to an erroneous conclusion. If we can spot the calculator being used in their images, we can easily rule out their conclusion.
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Atmospheric refraction causes a distant object to appear higher than its actual position. As a result, the object can be physically behind Earth’s curvature but is still visible because the light coming from it is refracted by the atmosphere.
There are many curvature calculators and simulation tools that don’t account for refraction. They would give us the correct results indicating the object’s physical positions but fail to show us the correct apparent position of the object when visually observed.
Flat-Earthers are often too happy with the calculator showing them the results they want to see and fail to see the reason for the discrepancy.
Continue reading “Curvature Calculators and Atmospheric Refraction”