What title says. I'm finding plenty of reasons why the Earth is flat, however I can't distinguish which are the biggest reasons. I hope this is in the right forum, and if not, can you guys direct me? I'm looking for 3 main reasons, however more the better. Thanks!

Offline iamcpc

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What title says. I'm finding plenty of reasons why the Earth is flat, however I can't distinguish which are the biggest reasons. I hope this is in the right forum, and if not, can you guys direct me? I'm looking for 3 main reasons, however more the better. Thanks!

I have found no PROOF as to the shape of the earth. I have found EVIDENCE which either weakens the round earth model or EVIDENCE which supports one of the many flat earth models.

Personally the biggest piece of EVIDENCE (which weakens the round earth model) for me was this:

Calculating the orbit of two celestial bodies (like a planet orbiting a sun) is called a two body problem and has been solved. A planet which orbits the sun which also has a moon orbiting that planet is called a three body problem and is unsolved by even the greatest mathematicians who have ever lived. Three body problem = SUPER complex.

The round earth model has many planets and like a 50+ moons. It's not a three body problem it's like a 90 body problem. The round earth model is unable to calculate the orbit of the sun, earth, and moon let alone the rest of the planets.

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Offline Tim Alphabeaver

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The round earth model has many planets and like a 50+ moons. It's not a three body problem it's like a 90 body problem.
I mean if you really wanted a perfect model you'd need to include every asteroid, every star, every galaxy. It's not just the 90-body problem, it's the n-body problem.

That said, I think this is an argument is an argument from ignorance more than anything. You can say the exact same thing about electromagnetism, and I'm assuming that you don't think any less of electromagnetism because of it. I found this cute quote that pretty much sums up my experience of physics:
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In physics, the number of not-baby-simple, exactly solvable problems can be counted on the fingers of one hand (that’s missing some fingers), and that includes the 2-body problem.
Basically, reality generally isn't analytically solvable.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2019, 08:36:09 PM by Tim Alphabeaver »
**I move away from the infinite flat plane to breathe in

tellytubby

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What title says. I'm finding plenty of reasons why the Earth is flat, however I can't distinguish which are the biggest reasons. I hope this is in the right forum, and if not, can you guys direct me? I'm looking for 3 main reasons, however more the better. Thanks!
- really.... care to list a few?


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The round earth model is unable to calculate the orbit of the sun, earth, and moon let alone the rest of the planets.
If that is the case then how is it that we are able to set out very accurately ephemerides for the Sun, Moon, planets, eclipses and asteroids for any time in the future. You can only determine such positional accuracy by knowing the orbital elements. The only bodies that are a tad unpredictable are some comets that have highly eccentric orbits.

As a member of the BAA, I receive a handbook every year which contains very detailed charts and tables. These describe all celestial events over the year.  Including positional information for the satellites of Jupiter and Saturn.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2019, 09:13:26 PM by tellytubby »

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Offline Tom Bishop

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If that is the case then how is it that we are able to set out very accurately ephemerides for the Sun, Moon, planets, eclipses and asteroids for any time in the future. You can only determine such positional accuracy by knowing the orbital elements.

That is untrue. The movement of the celestial bodies come in patterns in the sky and can be computed based on patterns.

https://wiki.tfes.org/Astronomical_Prediction_Based_on_Patterns
« Last Edit: May 24, 2019, 12:56:36 AM by Tom Bishop »

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Offline Tumeni

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I'm finding plenty of reasons why the Earth is flat, however I can't distinguish which are the biggest reasons.

If you have "plenty", then what are your three biggest?
==============================
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Pete Svarrior "We are not here to directly persuade anyone ... You mistake our lack of interest in you for our absence."

Tom Bishop "We are extremely popular and the entire world wants to talk to us. We have better things to do with our lives than have in depth discussions with every single curious person. You are lucky to get one sentence dismissals from us"

IMO, by far the best 2 are:

1) If you get really close to the surface of the water, it's not that uncommon to have a beam of light travel a very long distance without being obstructed by the curvature.
2) A garden variety physical gyroscope won't be able to show the 15 degree per hour rotation of the Earth.

and maybe an honorable mention might be:
3) Various light-speed tests have been unable to show any motion of the Earth relative to the aether.

IMO, by far the best 2 are:

1) If you get really close to the surface of the water, it's not that uncommon to have a beam of light travel a very long distance without being obstructed by the curvature.
2) A garden variety physical gyroscope won't be able to show the 15 degree per hour rotation of the Earth.

and maybe an honorable mention might be:
3) Various light-speed tests have been unable to show any motion of the Earth relative to the aether.

1) This was noted as a problem with Robotham's original Bedford Levels experiment. To avoid this, Alfred Russel Wallace repeated the experiment with a modified method specifically designed to avoid the known problems of atmospheric refraction which can and will interfere with (and hence invalidate) the result. What you are saying in effect is, if you get really close to the surface of water, atmospheric effects distort what you see. That's not telling you anything about curvature.

2) And I can't take a photo of the rings of saturn with my smartphone, I need a better, more precise (and more expensive) instrument. It might be possible to design and build a mechanical gyroscope to detect some rotational motion of the earth, but you're inevitably struggling against friction. And who's going to bother going to that trouble and expense when Foucault's pendulum already showed the rotation and the highly accurate ring laser gyroscope does the same job as a mechanical one, but more reliably and considerably more accurately - which is why modern airliners have replaced their old mechanical ones with RLGs. And we all know (thanks to Bob Knodel) that RLGs tell you we're rotating at 15 deg/hour. I'd also add that the earth could still be round and not rotating. Rotation and flatness/roundness are not the same thing.

3) The various tests you mention lead to two possibilities a) If the aether exists then the earth is stationary (does not orbit the sun) or b) if the earth orbits the sun then the aether does not exist. To distinguish between a) and b) it would be necessary to either demonstrate the existence of the aether via some other means or demonstrate the earth orbits the sun. I'm not aware of any evidence of the existence of the aether. Sure it was assumed to exist for a long time, but never convincingly demonstrated. On the other hand there is plenty of evidence to support the idea of the earth orbiting the sun. Again, the earth orbiting the sun has nothing to do with it's shape. The earth could well be round and everything rotates around it - a belief held for a very long time in fact.

Personally, if I were trying to play devil's advocate, I might go with:

1) It looks flat (difficult to get your head around how big this planet is).
2) Why don't people in Australia fall off (hard to get you head around what up/down and level mean on a globe earth)
3) Water doesn't stick to a ball (gravity can be counter-intuitive)
« Last Edit: May 24, 2019, 09:15:13 AM by robinofloxley »

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Offline Tim Alphabeaver

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If that is the case then how is it that we are able to set out very accurately ephemerides for the Sun, Moon, planets, eclipses and asteroids for any time in the future. You can only determine such positional accuracy by knowing the orbital elements.

That is untrue. The movement of the celestial bodies come in patterns in the sky and can be computed based on patterns.

https://wiki.tfes.org/Astronomical_Prediction_Based_on_Patterns
Is this also used for things with very long orbital periods? Pluto's orbit is well-known, but Pluto has only completed ~1/3 of an orbit since it was first discovered.
What about chaotic systems like an asteroid being captured into Earth orbit? I skimmed this, it was an okay read:
https://academic.oup.com/mnrasl/article/434/1/L1/1163370
**I move away from the infinite flat plane to breathe in

Personally the biggest piece of EVIDENCE (which weakens the round earth model) for me was this:

Calculating the orbit of two celestial bodies (like a planet orbiting a sun) is called a two body problem and has been solved. A planet which orbits the sun which also has a moon orbiting that planet is called a three body problem and is unsolved by even the greatest mathematicians who have ever lived. Three body problem = SUPER complex.

The round earth model has many planets and like a 50+ moons. It's not a three body problem it's like a 90 body problem. The round earth model is unable to calculate the orbit of the sun, earth, and moon let alone the rest of the planets.
Not sure if that's serious. If so, could you explain why the complexity of that particular math problem is evidence that the Earth is flat?

Offline iamcpc

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Personally the biggest piece of EVIDENCE (which weakens the round earth model) for me was this:

Calculating the orbit of two celestial bodies (like a planet orbiting a sun) is called a two body problem and has been solved. A planet which orbits the sun which also has a moon orbiting that planet is called a three body problem and is unsolved by even the greatest mathematicians who have ever lived. Three body problem = SUPER complex.

The round earth model has many planets and like a 50+ moons. It's not a three body problem it's like a 90 body problem. The round earth model is unable to calculate the orbit of the sun, earth, and moon let alone the rest of the planets.
Not sure if that's serious. If so, could you explain why the complexity of that particular math problem is evidence that the Earth is flat?


It's not evidence that the earth is flat. It's evidence that the current round earth model could have some flaws or weaknesses when the physical LAWS that we have created are unable to accurately calculate these things.

Personally the biggest piece of EVIDENCE (which weakens the round earth model) for me was this:

Calculating the orbit of two celestial bodies (like a planet orbiting a sun) is called a two body problem and has been solved. A planet which orbits the sun which also has a moon orbiting that planet is called a three body problem and is unsolved by even the greatest mathematicians who have ever lived. Three body problem = SUPER complex.

The round earth model has many planets and like a 50+ moons. It's not a three body problem it's like a 90 body problem. The round earth model is unable to calculate the orbit of the sun, earth, and moon let alone the rest of the planets.
Not sure if that's serious. If so, could you explain why the complexity of that particular math problem is evidence that the Earth is flat?


It's not evidence that the earth is flat. It's evidence that the current round earth model could have some flaws or weaknesses when the physical LAWS that we have created are unable to accurately calculate these things.
Thanks for the clarification.
IMO, your assessment starts out basically correct. We do not have an analytical solution to the n-body problem. And this raises the question, "How can we predict the orbits of every little space rock with the level of precision that is claimed?" I presume that's more-or-less where you're coming from?

Having done a little of this myself, I can tell you what we did in my experience. We normally reduce the complexity of the problem to a 2-body solution (really 1 heavy static body and 1 light mobile body). This gives approximate results, but in most situations, they are extremely accurate approximations. Then when you want to take it to more detailed predictions, you do it with a numerical simulation.

Does the fact that we rely on computer simulations to predict the motion of orbital bodies seem like a weakness in the physical laws upon which those simulations are based?

tellytubby

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The movement of the celestial bodies come in patterns in the sky and can be computed based on patterns.

If that is the case then Tom how can we use patterns to calculate the orbit of a newly discovered comet that we have never seen before (and so we know nothing about its orbital parameters). Yet after collecting positional data of just a few days or weeks, we can use that to calculate its orbit precisely and discover whether it is a one-off visitor to the inner solar system or a periodic comet that will return?

I agree that some astronomical phenomenon can be predicted through patterns...  after the millenia over which astronomical observations have been taking place, identification of some patterns is inevitable.  The phases of the Moon, the observed angle of the rings of Saturn, and of course the annual and repeating changes of the seasonal constellations that are visible.  Also...

Transits of Venus. As Wikipedia states:

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Transits of Venus are among the rarest of predictable astronomical phenomena.[1] They occur in a pattern that generally repeats every 243 years, with pairs of transits eight years apart separated by long gaps of 121.5 years and 105.5 years. The periodicity is a reflection of the fact that the orbital periods of Earth and Venus are close to 8:13 and 243:395 commensurabilities.[2][3]

But not astronomical events can be attributed to patterns. Or obvious patterns at least.   We have seen a number of apparent patterns in solar activity for example but new potential patterns are being identified.  That is what makes science exciting. Not the known but the unknown and undiscovered.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2019, 07:45:21 PM by tellytubby »

Apart the obvious "it looks flat" and "where's curvature?" I am a huge fan of:

1 - The Sun and the Moon have the same size
2 - Earth is inhabitated by a unique sentient race, it's not a normal planet
3 - If it were a rotating ball, water would fly into space
Quote from: Pete Svarrior
these waves of smug RE'ers are temporary. Every now and then they flood us for a year or two in response to some media attention, and eventually they peter out. In my view, it's a case of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

Apart the obvious "it looks flat" and "where's curvature?" I am a huge fan of:

1 - The Sun and the Moon have the same size
2 - Earth is inhabitated by a unique sentient race, it's not a normal planet
3 - If it were a rotating ball, water would fly into space

1 and 2 are factually accurate as far as I know.
However, I take exception to #3. That is not factually accurate, and I encourage you to challenge whatever thinking pattern has led to you believe that it is. If you're willing to challenge your assumptions, I am always happy to help.

tellytubby

1. The Sun and Moon have the same apparent size on the sky. In reality the Sun is 400 times bigger but also 400 times further way.
2. The Earth is a normal planet which just happens to be going through the right stage of its evolution to support life, including human life at the moment of course.
3. Water is prevented from evaporating off into space partly due to gravity 'pulling it back' towards the core from all points on the surface but also by the natural water cycle created by its rotation and atmosphere.

As far as your 'obvious because it looks flat' explanation is concerned, that flatness is simply due to the very small amount of surface area that you can see from any single location as close to the surface as you see it from.

If you could see it from a few 100km up then you would see curvature I promise you.  If you were standing on a ship somewhere in the middle of the ocean you would be at the centre of your horizon circle.  The horizon would be the same distance away from you in all directions and so it would look completely flat.  If you could then increase in altitude at will, your horizon circle would increase in radius as you move higher. Initially it would still look flat in all directions but eventually, once you can see a large enough proportion of the surface you would then start to see the curvature develop. No lens distortion here because you wouldn't need a camera.  Your own eyes would be enough. By this point as well, the sky would be getting increasingly dark as you travel above a larger and larger proportion of the atmosphere.  Out in the distance you would see the horizon looking like it was enveloped in a very thin blue haze.  That haze gradually fading into the blackness of the space beyond.

There would reach a point where the fraction of the surface you could see would reach 50% in which case you would see the complete horizon all the way around the world. It would become a circle!
« Last Edit: May 29, 2019, 10:06:11 PM by tellytubby »