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Cosmology, the study of the origin & structure of the universe:

Five more proofs that the Earth is
more or less spherical and not flat.

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Part 6

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  • Proof 7: The existence of 24 time zones and the balance between nighttime and daytime:

    Suppose the Earth were flat and the Sun revolved around the Earth, as believed by most Flat Earthers. This is shown below from a frame-grab taken from a You Tube video promoting a flat earth. It is called: "Flat Earth Theory - If a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words."1 The video shows the Sun a small distance above the flat Earth, tracing out a path around the earth and illuminating only that small area that is directly under the sun. The transition from nighttime to daytime would be almost instantaneous.

Sun above a flat earth

  • Note that the extreme western part of Australia in the 2 o'clock position on the image is shown in total darkness. That part of Australia a short distance eastward (counter clockwise) would be in full sunlight.

    However, there is no focusing device between the Sun and Earth. There is no device above the Earth that would cause a well defined border between an area of full sun and the rest of the earth in full darkness.

  • If the Sun were in this configuration, it would be daytime over the entire surface of the Earth for 24 hours a day. That is, any person anywhere on Earth would be able to look somewhere between their horizon and overhead, and see the Sun.

    Some would see it directly overhead. Everywhere else on the Earth, it would appear somewhere between the horizon and overhead.

    To visualize this, imagine a circular table that is flat on top. It would simulate a flat earth. Imagine a burning marshmallow being moved around the the table at a constant distance above the table. This would simulate the motion of the sun, moving around the Earth every 24 hours. Finally, imagine an ant on top of the table. The ant would see the marshmallow continuously, all the time; it would never experience darkness.

    But that is not what we actually observe on Earth. When the Sun is at its highest point overhead at Greenwich England, it is:
    • Noon there, and is typically
    • 9 AM in Greenland,
    • 7 AM in New York City,
    • 4 AM in Los Angeles, in darkness
    • 1 AM in Hawaii, in darkness.
    • 11 PM in New Zealand, in darkness
    • 9 PM in Eastern Australia
    • 7 PM in Western Australia
    • 4 PM in India

A flat Earth would not allow it to be Noon -- daytime -- in one part of the Earth, and midnight with the sun out of sight elsewhere on the surface of the Earth.

You can check this for yourself. For example:

  • If you are at New York City, in the Eastern Time Zone, at Noon time, then you would find the sun high in the sky.

  • You could phone a friend on the West coast of Australia and ask what time it was and whether the sun was visible there. That location is approximately on the other side of the world from New York city, They would say the sun set many hours before and it that is the middle of the night where they are.

This would make sense if the earth is close to a sphere in shape and rotating. It would have 24 time zones. If it is daylight on one side of the Earth, it would be nighttime on the other side.

But if the Earth were flat, and the sun was overhead in New York City, the sun would still be visible from New Zealand and Australia and everywhere else in the world.

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Proof 8: The shape of the Earth's shadow during a lunar eclipse:

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth is directly between the Sun and the Moon. By looking at the moon, we can see the shadow of the Earth creeping across the moon's surface. The shadow has a rounded edge indicating that the shape of the Earth is also round. Successive lunar eclipses always show the same rounded shadow. The only Earth shape that always casts a round shadow is a sphere or a shape close to a sphere.

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Proof 9: Gravity's effect on a spherical ball:

It is a well established fact that objects with mass attract each other.

  • If one places a spherical ball on a horizontal surface of a roughly spherical Earth, the ball will be attracted to the center of gravity of the Earth, which is close to the center of the Earth. It will stay put. Thus persons at the North Pole, Ottawa, Orlando, Mexico City, Brasilia, Buenos Aires, the Straight of Magellan or South Pole would all see their ball sitting stationary.

  • If one places the same ball on a horizontal surface on the edge of a flat Earth, then the apple will still be drawn towards the center of gravity of the Earth. However, the center is roughly in the center of the flat Earth. It will tend to roll towards the center of the Earth which most flat Earth believers "know" is at the North Pole. The ball will roll in a Northerly direction.

Try the experiment the next time that you are some distance from the North Pole. You will find that the Earth is spherical.

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Proof 10: Viewing the International Space Station (ISS) from Earth:

Most believers in a flat earth assert that artificial satellites simply don't exist. They are believed to be gigantic hoaxes perpetrated by NASA and by space agencies of other countries. But there is "something" about 240 miles above the surface of the Earth that is revolving around the earth about once every 90 to 93 minutes . If you know when and where to look, you can find it as the second brightest object in the night sky. The moon is the brightest. Many people have successfully photographed the ISS from the Earth.

NASA publishes an essay titled: "How to See the Space Station from the Ground." 2 They provide a "Spot the Station" service that lists sighting data for many cities. Included is:

  • The local time of each transit,
  • The number of minutes during which the ISS should be visible if the sky is clear,
  • The direction and degrees elevation when the ISS first becomes visible,
  • The maximum elevation in degrees that the ISS will reach above the horizon, and
  • The direction and degrees elevation when the ISS will vanish from view.

By tracing data for a single pass of the ISS over the surface of the Earth, one can verify NASA's claim that it takes about an hour and a half. In fact, every satellite in a low earth orbit from Sputnik in 1957 to the first component of ISS launched in 1998 took about that many minutes to circle the Earth. By tracing NASA's data over a map of an approximately spherical Earth, one can compute that the ISS is traveling about 17,000 miles per hour or 27,000 km per hour. This is obviously well beyond the speed of any airplane that has ever been built. The only logical conclusion is that it is a man-made satellite revolving around the Earth.

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Proof 11: Another proof of that the Earth is not flat can been shown by actually mapping Antarctica. If the Earth is flat, as shown in the above diagram, then a ship passing along the shoreline would have to travel about 50,000 miles to make a complete circuit before it would return to its starting point.

Azimuthal equidistant projection of the Earth 3

An Azimuthal Equidistant Projection of the entire Earth

However, Antarctica has actually been mapped thoroughly. It looks like the following:

map of Antartica4

It clearly does not have a 50,000 mile coastline in the form of a ribbon. It is a roughly circular continent, approximately the area of the United States and Mexico combined. 5 The continent has been circumnavigated by ships and planes numerous times.

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RELATED FEATURE ESSAYS on Cosmology, the study of the origin & structure of the universe:

  • Part 1: Overview about cosmological beliefs. The Ancient Pagan view originating in Sumer.

  • Part 2: The revised Pagan view, as generally accepted within early Christianity.

  • Part 3: Greek Pagan cosmology (Continued). Modern view of the solar system. Church taught an Earth-centered system. The big hoax: that the church taught a flat Earth during the Middle Ages.

  • Part 4: A modern-day return to the belief that the Earth is flat, and that there is a massive, false conspiracy teaching that the Earth is similar to a sphere

  • Part 5: Three more proofs that the Earth is more or less spherical and not flat.

  • Part 7: Arguments about the Earth's shape. A weak proof of a spherical Earth. More Old Testament passages about the Earth's shape.

  • Part 8: Passages from the New Testament about the Earth's shape. Additional proofs that the Earth is not flat.

  • Part 9: Proofs 15 to 21 that the Earth is not flat.

  • Part 10: Proof 22 that the Earth is not flat. Are Flat Earthers Hoaxters?

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Frame grab about 1 min, 20 seconds into video: "Flat Earth Theory - If a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words," Black Hole Interactive, 2017-JAN-20, at: https://www.youtube.com/
  2. "How to See the Space Station From the Ground," NASA, 2012-JUL-30, at: https://www.nasa.gov/
  3. "Flat Earth," Wikipedia, as on 2016-MAY-03, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/
  4. "Labeled map of Antarctica," Wikipedia, as on 2016-APR-27, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/
  5. "Compare the size of Antarctica to the Continental United States,' NASA, 2014-SEP-08, at: https://www.nasa.gov/

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 Home page >  Christianity > Bible & the world > Cosmology > here

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Copyright © 2016 & 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2016-JUN
Latest update and review: 2017-FEB-18
Author: B.A. Robinson

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