Reader’s Request: Flat Earth ‘Facts’

An anonymous reader sent in the following:

“Flat earth. …no curvature is seen in high altitude balloon footage. ..the coriolis effect is a myth, no scientific experiments ever proven the spins ,no real pictures of earth from space. the moon landings were faked …people have taken pictures of objects from 60 plus miles away. ..I can go on but I would like you guys to do the research and see for yourself”

Lets address these points one at a time.

Flat earth. …no curvature is seen in high altitude balloon footageIMG_20160225_084432

Demonstrably untrue.

According to optical researchers, while we can fool ourselves into thinking we see the curvature of the Earth from high mountains, this is usually wishful thinking.

You should be able to detect it from an airplane at a cruising height of around 10,600 meters (35,000 feet), but you need a fairly wide field of view (ie 60 degrees) and a virtually cloud-free horizon. The reality is that clouds, hills and mountains mean we rarely get to see the kind of perfectly flat horizon where the curve would be most obvious.

However, you can detect the curve of the Earth from ground level at the coast with a pair of binoculars – just look for distant ships on the horizon and you’ll see that their hulls start to disappear before their masts and other superstructure. Ancient Greek scientists, who spotted this without any optical aids, used this to conclude that the Earth was spherical. This can be observed in the photograph of the three ships. This cannot be dismissed by claims of ‘perspective’ or ‘parallax’.


The coriolis effect is a myth, no scientific experiments ever proven the spins

Demonstrably untrue.

Gaspard-Gustave Coriolis (1792-1843) was a French mathematician and physicist who discovered the Coriolis effect (also known as the Coriolis force) in 1835 that affects the movements of winds in the atmosphere and currents in the ocean.

A reproducable experiment (assuming that you have a friend in the opposite hemisphere) that provides irrefutable proof was done by Destin from Smarter Every Day and Derek Muller from Veritasium, and they went to great lengths to show it. Very great lengths: literally opposite sides of the Earth.

They set up identical pools, one in the US and one in Australia, and drained the water from them. The observed effect was exactly what would be predicted based on coriolis effect. They created two videos, meant to be seen side by side. They are not just videos; there is a narrative that explains what is going on as it’s going on. To view, go to Smarter Every Day.

NkqSANo real pictures of earth from space

Demonstrably untrue.

The Apollo program provided one of the most popular earth photographs and many other high-resolution space and moon photographs using a 70mm Hasselblad camera. Real film photographs (not digital photographs) from Apollo missions 4 through 17 can be seen HERE.

As for why present-day photographs need to be composites (NOT CGI), that’s fairly simple. Many orbiting satellites are too close to the surface to make a single-frame photograph of the earth without an extreme wide-angle lens. Such a lens would introduce severe image distortion. Multiple ‘swath’ images are stitched together from multiple satellites to produce a whole-globe view.

For a deeper understanding of this, forget the camera and picture yourself on a space ship. The average field of view of the human eye is 135 degrees. A high value for a rectilinear image in DX format is only 109.2 degrees. (10mm lens focal length) Considering these angles, it’s not hard to see that in order to take a single-frame photograph of the Earth, horizon-to-horizon, the distance ‘L’ in the graphic needs to be a fairly large number.

Additionally, composite pictures (again, NOT CGI) are necessary because satellite cameras are designed to capture the most accurate images possible. To do so, often visible light pictures are shot separately in three frequency bands representing red, green and blue. The three images are combined to form a full color image. This is no different from what your digital camera does, except that your camera does it in one step. NASA does not conceal this fact.


09229The moon landings were faked

Demonstrably untrue, and we’re unsure why this point was included in a primarily flat-earth request.

There is photographic evidence of the occurrence, on the order of thousands of film-based photographs. Again, as above, see photographs from Apollo missions 4 through 17 HERE.

The photograph on the left was taken with the Hasselblad 70mm camera.

Additionally, there is physical evidence._wsb_372x291_45+Apollo+11+laser+reflector+c

On three of the Apollo landings, 11, 14 & 15, Laser Light Reflectors (photograph on the right) were left behind for experiments from observatories

around the world. These were placed on the moon by hand and aligned with the earth in the sky. As the moon is in acaptured rotation, the earth doesn’t move in the moon’s sky. Lasers are fired toward the three sites on the moon and a reflection is made back to the telescope every time. If a laser is aimed at any other part of the moon, nothing comes back.

These reflectors are the only US experiments still functioning on the surface of the moon.

People have taken pictures of objects from 60 plus miles awayRefracción

Accurate, but it doesn’t indicate a flat Earth.

The effect that allows this to happen is called Atmospheric refraction, which is the deviation of light or other electromagnetic wave from a straight line as it passes through the atmosphere due to the variation in air density as a function of altitude or temperature. Further, when a temperature inversion occurs the level of refraction can be greatly enhanced.

If, however, this was to be taken as proof of a flat Earth, such observations would be constant, as opposed to extremely infrequent occurrences. They are not.

In closing, the assertions made in the request represent no challenge whatsoever to the oblate spheroid Earth model. To be called ‘evidence’, something must first be accurate, and second, point to one and only one conclusion above all others. None of the statements in the request meet both of these requirements, and all but one doesn’t even meet the first requirement.

Thanks for reading



6 comments on “Reader’s Request: Flat Earth ‘Facts’

  1. The human eye is proof we live on an extended plane. The horizon always rises to meet the eye no matter how high the elevation. Curved surfaces fall away from eye level. Therefore, we are on a flat extended plane.

    • Hi shotgunsusie
      First, can I ask what your favorite shotgun is? I just got a new Franchi pheasant gun.
      Now, on to the ‘rises…’ discussion. We’ll delay the larger discussion of plane vs. sphere until we’re past this one.
      That’s a very commonly used argument in support of an infinite or extended-plane earth. The problem with the assertion is that it’s demonstrably untrue. (By ‘demonstrably, I mean you, I or anyone with the desire to do so can test it)
      Eye-level, at sea level, is really usually somewhere between 4.5 and 6 feet ABOVE sea level for the average height individual. Even if the earth were a plane, this would produce a small but measurable drop.
      The combination of a sweeping movable eye(it sweeps a target even while we think we are staring directly AT a target), movable neck/head arrangement and the evolutionary gift of ‘point-of-interest tracking’ makes visual observations not nearly accurate enough to measure fractional degrees of change. Something like this should do the trick:
      So, plane or sphere, a drop would be apparent, and the eye just doesn’t cut it as a tool of measurement.
      Looking forward to your reply

  2. Ok how about the time lapse of the Chicago skyline shot at 60 miles away? You can’t write this off as refraction…

    • Hi Jason
      Unfortunately, atmospheric refraction is the only conclusion that can be drawn. We know that it exists as an observable phenomenon, and that it is dependent on a changeable thermal variance. This is most noticeable over large bodies of water, as they act as a ‘thermal capacitor’, storing the temperatures of the previous season. The term ‘impedance’ applies here. Just like alternating current or radio waves, light, when moving from an area of one impedance to an area of different impedance is refracted. In extreme cases, a phenomenon known as ‘tropospheric ducting’ (2 thermal zones with a third, vastly different thermal zone sandwiched in-between) can be used to propagate VHF radio waves, which are normally line-of-sight, at extremely low power over hundreds of miles. Radio waves ARE light waves, just at a much lower frequency.
      Some evidence for this can be found in the following:
      1) Remote skyline views that are over the calculated horizon are not permanent. If not for some variable cause (in this case, variable refraction) we’d be able to see such events all day, every day. We don’t.
      2) All of the photographic evidence we’ve seen seems to exclude the bottoms of buildings, street view, etc. On a flat surface, one would see the entire structure, bottom-to-top, or at least the visible sections would show some level of elevation over the the visible horizon even if the bottom were to be obscured by mist.
      I look forward to continuing the discussion

      • A 12 hour time lapse with weather patterns coming and going but the skyline stayed vertical and never went inverted…that doesn’t act like a mirage because a mirage is most always inverted

        • Hi again Jason
          The inversion of images you describe is caused by reflection which occurs at the boundary area of two vastly different air masses; one much hotter than the other.
          When the temperature difference is smaller between the two regions, refraction, or bending of the light paths, occurs. This produces no inverted image and can convey quite accurate images in places other than the position of the original object.
          To see this effect first-hand, and to get guaranteed results, use a swimming pool and a long pole. If you put the pole into the water on an angle, it appears to bend at the point where it touches the water. This is caused by the exact same mechanism (a boundary layer between 2 masses that have different impedance to light movement) as with atmospheric refraction.
          I know we use water & air in this example, but it’s hard to manually control the temp of air masses!

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