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Flat Earth vs Basic Astronomy: How flat Earth cosmology completely fails

Discussion in 'Physical & Life Sciences' started by pitabread, Jan 4, 2020.

  1. pitabread

    pitabread Well-Known Member

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    As a kid, I spent a number of years interested in amateur astronomy. Consequently I became quite familiar with the night sky and various observations thereof.

    Flash-forward a few decades and the bizarre rise of the "flat Earth" movement making claims that completely contradict traditional views of the structure of our universe. I've tried reconciling these claims with what I have personally observed.

    One of these observations is the fact that the stars appear to move at night. This is naturally caused by the rotation of the Earth. As the rotates, our "viewing window" of the universe shifts and the stars appear to move across the sky. This is exactly the same phenomenon we observe in the day time with Sun.

    In the case of stars, it's also apparent that the relative motion of the stars differs relative to the axis of rotation. For example, if one is in the Northern Hemisphere and looks up at Polaris (the North Star), it moves very little while other stars appear to rotate around the position of Polaris. This is due to the fact that the axis of Earth's rotation is effectively pointed at Polaris.

    Long-exposure photography nicely shows the relative paths of stars as the Earth rotates:

    [​IMG]

    Flat Earthers, to their credit, don't seem to deny this phenomenon. And how could they? It's so patently obvious that even cursory star gazing demonstrates this.

    What is interesting about the apparent movement of stars and astronomy is that this causes challenges in observing stars, particularly through telescopes. If you try to observe a star through sufficiently high magnification you can even see this movement in real time. Any extended observation through a telescope causes such stars to continually drift out of view.

    Fortunately there is a way to compensate for this: the equatorial mount.

    The original equatorial mount (the German equatorial mount) was invented about 200 years ago by Joseph von Fraunhofer. It features two axes of movement. Many modern telescopes are still equipped with these mounts.

    By aligning one of the axes of the mount parallel to the Earth's axis of rotation, one can effectively compensate for the Earth's rotation by rotating along that axis.

    [​IMG]

    This is where Flat Earth cosmology runs into problems.

    Flat Earthers don't seem to deny the apparent movement of the night's sky. Rather, the alternative explanations I've seen suggest that stars are much smaller balls of light suspended a few thousand miles about the Earth's surface. The stars themselves rotate around the same polar axis directly above the North's Pole (or per FE maps, the Earth's center).

    [​IMG]

    In the FE version of the universe, a German equatorial mount only would work if one was directly at the North Pole. At the North Pole, you'd simply point the polar axis straight up and then one could track any star by just rotating the telescope on that axis.

    If you were *not* directly at the North Pole, however, it would no longer be possible to track an object rotating in the sky with a single axis of rotation. You would now need two axes of rotation to compensate for that object's movement.

    I found a video showing a 3D model of telescope tracking a flat Earth scenario. This video nicely shows that when attempting to track a moving object and one is not aligned with the axis of movement of that object, two axes of correction are required to maintain tracking.

    Skip to about 19:10 to see the difference between two axes of tracking versus one axes of tracking of a moving object in the FE model:



    I've tried searching for FE explanations as to why equatorial mounts and a single axis of correction works for astronomy when according to FE model they shouldn't. The only thing I've found have been Flat Earthers just baldly asserting that equatorial mounts magically correct for apparent star movement... and that's it. There seems to be no understanding from Flat Earthers of the geometry involved and that equatorial mounts cannot correct off-axis movement with a single axis of rotation in the Flat Earth universe.

    At any rate, this is just one of numerous observations of the night sky that falsifies Flat Earth cosmology. Seasonal variation of star constellations, variations in of the night sky at different latitudes (I haven't even begun discussing the Southern Hemisphere), observations of things like satellites and ISS, etc, all defy flat Earth claims. I've tried looking up FE explanations for these and none of it makes a lick of sense. Even star trail photographs shouldn't appear the way they do in the FE model (they should appear like distorted ellipses).

    It only reinforces that if there are any sincere Flat Earthers, none of them seem to have performed even basic astronomy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2020
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  2. SkyWriting

    SkyWriting The Librarian Supporter

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    Serious astronomers existed before Christianity.
    Astronomers are outnumbered by people who think their
    dinner table is flat, yet the curve of the earth is less than
    the reverse curve of your dinner table you eat at every day.
    Few people think of their dinner table as the bottom curve of a globe.

    At my job, we have 4 by 8 foot flat granite tables for checking flatness. The curve of your dinner table would "look like Fretos corn chip" compared to our flat granite tables.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2020
  3. The IbanezerScrooge

    The IbanezerScrooge Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely fantastic post, pita!
     
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  4. public hermit

    public hermit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We are fortunate that those of you with science backgrounds are willing to post on these forums. I continue to learn, which is great. By the way, I am not saying I believed in a flat earth, but have learned better. Honestly, the first time I saw someone defend a flat earth was just the other day on these forums, which was alarming to me. So, glad y'all are here.
     
  5. durangodawood

    durangodawood Dis Member

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    FE is like a car wreck that I'd rather not look at but cant help it.

    I'm still of a mind that the whole "movement" is just a sort of trolling challenge. It too dumb to be for real.
     
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  6. pitabread

    pitabread Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, appreciate it. :)

    It really is hard to tell isn't it? I know there are FE advocates here that seem to get upset when one outright dismisses FE as a troll-job.

    Yet, after legitimately look for FE explanations for various things I've observed via astronomy, the sheer lack of cogent explanations makes it hard to think FE is anything *but* a troll job.

    Thank you, although my experience in astronomy is strictly amateur. In fact, I've never even owned a telescope (I did most of my observing via binoculars).

    What I love about astronomy is how accessible it is to most people, which is why I find it all the more baffling that alleged FE proponents seem so unfamiliar with it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2020
  7. sjastro

    sjastro Newbie

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    Good post.

    The fact that the angle of the polar axis of the mount needs to be changed depending on one's location on the Earth is evidence it is not flat.
    At the North Pole the angle of the polar axis of the mount to the horizontal is 90 degrees, at the equator it needs to be a 0 degrees.
     
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  8. durangodawood

    durangodawood Dis Member

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    Ok, its possible I suppose that certain people primed for gullibility have bought into the troll-job as a for-real thing.

    But what good is presenting evidence to people who are that far gone? They can just throw up a video without comment and feel like theyve presented a rebuttal.
     
  9. pitabread

    pitabread Well-Known Member

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    For anyone who really is that far gone then evidence is probably completely irrelevant. And that's fine. That's not really why I posted this thread.

    It was moreso just a way to collect some of my own thoughts from reading the various FE threads.
     
  10. SeventyOne

    SeventyOne Well-Known Member

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    It was addressed in detail over a year ago by several flat earth researchers. Sorry you couldn't find it during your extensive research, as it took me all of 45 seconds to do so.

    Here's a more recent clip of the older works addressing this very issue from a flat earth perspective.

     
  11. pitabread

    pitabread Well-Known Member

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    I don't suppose you care to summarize or can point out the relevant section of the video, since it over 70 minutes long?

    After all, I had the courtesy to do so in the video I linked. Why not do the same in return?
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2020
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  12. sjastro

    sjastro Newbie

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    Since you are an "authority" on the subject explain why the angle of the polar axis of an equatorial mount should vary depending on the location on a flat Earth.
    Also explain if the Earth is flat, why does the mount's declination reading of an object at the zenith correspond exactly to the latitude on the Earth's surface where the observation is made.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2020
  13. The IbanezerScrooge

    The IbanezerScrooge Well-Known Member

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    I'm guessing the relative bit would be at about 14:10 where they show a video about perspective that supposedly explains how we see the stars move on a FE. And to be clear it is asserted, not demonstrated. Even the graphic doesn't really explain it. It just shows it. Just looking at it the first flaw in this explanation I see is that if it were true then you'd be able to see Polaris from Antarctica. However, the explanations from a FE perspective lead to a bunch of testable conclusions, but no one ever shows these tests being conducted and the model of FE being confirmed. Not that I've seen.

    Just before that they are baffled and suspicious as to why when you look up constellations of the south circumpolar stars you get an image of only half the sky. But I guess these guys didn't look very hard...

    [​IMG]

    So to answer the one guys question Hydra or Phoenix is directly across the South Pole from the Southern Cross. How is this baffling or suspicious? IDK.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2020
  14. pitabread

    pitabread Well-Known Member

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    You appear to be a prophet.

    On that note, what is it with flat Earthers and a seeming inability to even provide timestamps as to relevant sections of videos? Makes me wonder if they haven't even bothered to watch what they link.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2020
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  15. pitabread

    pitabread Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. It looks the relevant sections are from about the 14:10 mark to around ~23 minutes or so.

    I had actually come across this explanation previously (although in text form) when I was looking up FE explanations for the shift of visible sky when one moves from North to South. Of course such an explanation didn't make much sense then and it makes even less sense as depicted in the video.

    Yeah that bit was rather silly. It felt like a "trying too hard to sound clever" moment, when a simple Google search refuted it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2020
  16. pitabread

    pitabread Well-Known Member

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    Provide a timestamp and I'll watch the relevant section. I'm not sitting through an hour long video on the off chance that they allegedly answer what I posed in the OP, especially given my experience with Flat Earthers posting completely irrelevant videos.
     
  17. pitabread

    pitabread Well-Known Member

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    It appears the relevant section is about 14 to 23 minutes in that video. I watched that section and had actually come across this purported explanation previously while browsing the FE Society site. Unfortunately this explanation made little sense in text description and makes even less sense as depicted in the video.

    The claim is that there is a limit to the distance we can visibly view, made at about the ~15 minute mark. They don't state why, however. I guess they need to invent some reason as to why telescopes don't work to see things further in the distance* on a flat Earth.

    (* On re-reviewing of this claim it makes even less sense. They list a distance of 12000 miles diameter, but this should imply we should be able to see objects at far further distance than we do on the Earth. They seem to imply this is the horizon line, but the visible horizon line is actually far shorter a distance on Earth depending on altitude. There seems to be no reason for the distance they've used.)

    They then contradict this about one minute later when they invoke this magical perspective dome which somehow projection maps two-dimension plane of rotating stars from much further distance into a three-dimensional sphere around the observer. Why? Again, there is zero explanation.

    They further contradict themselves by claiming that as one moves the projection "tilts" to retain relative distance of the perceived stars (just at a different angle), which contradicts the prior claim that there is a distance limitation to one's visual perspective. If the first claim were actually true, as we move further away from stars we should just not be seeing them anymore.

    When I alluded in the OP to Flat Earth explanations not making a lick of sense, this is exactly the sort of thing to which I was referring. The attempt to explain the phenomenon of the movement of the stars is not only unfounded, it contradicts itself in the process.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2020
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  18. topher694

    topher694 Go Turtle!

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    Wait! Now the Earth isn't just flat, it's real flat? Whoa! Good thing your not one of those "really really flat earthers" those guys are nuts.
     
  19. Strathos

    Strathos No one important

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    They figure that no one will bother watching the whole video.

    And if anyone actually does, and refutes it, they just ignore it.
     
  20. pitabread

    pitabread Well-Known Member

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    This has me wondering: could the whole purpose of the Flat Earth movement be a conspiratorial effort to increase YouTube views on random videos? :scratch:
     
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