Is The Earth Really Flat?

In 1881 the English inventor Samuel Rowbotham published a 430 page book titled Zetetic Astronomy: Earth Not a Globe His writings led to the formation of the Flat Earth Society, a group which still exists today

The Flat Earth Society promotes discussion and debate on what it views as the global conspiracy that the Earth is a sphere They assert that sensory observation prevails over scientific theory, and according to their vice president Michael Wilmore ‘through logical deduction and empirical data, we maintain that the earth is flat’ Samuel Rowbotham claimed that the Bible and our senses support the idea that the Earth is flat and immovable Moreover, he argued this essential truth should not be set aside for a system based solely on human conjecture So how do these conspiracy theorists believe our flat world works? The leading Flat Earth theory suggests the Earth is a disc with the Arctic Circle in the middle

The Antarctic is a one hundred and fifty feet tall wall of ice surrounding the rim of the planet, which prevents the ocean from spilling over the edge The Earth’s day and night cycle is explained as the Sun and Moon moving in circles above the plane of the Earth Like spotlights these celestial spheres illuminate different portions of the planet in a 24 hour cycle The Earth’s gravity is also considered to be an illusion Objects don’t accelerate downwards, rather the disc of earth accelerates upwards driven by dark energy

Flat Earthers also maintain that GPS devices are rigged to make pilots think they are flying in straight lines when actually they are flying in circles Many felt that the flat earth argument had been quashed once and for all by US and Soviet exploration into space in the 1960s The satellite pictures they produced clearly show the Earth as a spherical object rotating in space, like all the other planets in our solar system Astronauts who ventured into space also testified to this, and even saw for themselves first-hand the extent of the globe They orbited it several times

However, believers in a flat Earth argue that the Space Race was a hoax, and that NASA and other Government agencies are hiding the truth They deem satellite photo’s of a spherical Earth to be faked Just like 20% of Americans, they argue the entire space program was fabricated Prior to space exploration, the most forceful argument for claiming the earth is spherical, was a lunar eclipse The geometry of a lunar eclipse has been understood since ancient Greece

When a full moon occurs in the plane of the Earth’s orbit, the moon slowly moves through the Earth’s shadow Every time that shadow is seen, its edge is round, and the only solid object which projects a round shadow is a sphere Other arguments for a spherical earth include the way ships appear on the horizon They rise as if submerged under the water: you see the top of the mast before the hull On a flat Earth, they would just look like a small dot which gets bigger as it approaches

Then there is the fact you can see greater distances from higher up: this is only possible because of the Earth’s curvature Curvature also explains why the sun gets lower in the sky as you travel away from the tropics; and why the length of daylight varies more between summer and winter, the further you are from the Equator The idea of a spherical earth first appeared in Greece in the 6th century BC, through the philosopher Pythagoras Prior to this most historians agree that ancient societies thought of the world as being a flat object Christopher Columbus is often attributed with disproving the prevailing belief in a flat earth when he sailed West

However, this is a popular misconception Indeed the oldest surviving globe, The Erdapfel – designed by the German Martin Behaim – dates back to 1492, before Columbus’s return from the Americas However, despite this, membership of the Flat Earth Society continues to grow each year, and there are many who continue to maintain that the Earth is flat The society remains dedicated to promoting Rowbotham's ideas and trying to convince sceptics

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