|Knowledge Geography Space
It is quite cumbersome to determine the shape of the earth from a single location. A single vantage point, with a clear horizon, would only allow one to see a few miles in either direction. However, this makes it possible for one to place constraints. The earth could, therefore, be flat, spherical, or egg-shaped without our knowledge (Steffen and Bruzda). From a single point on the Earth's surface, it is possible to note that the Earth is far from being flat to a certain degree. However, if it is round, then it should be quite large. The paper analyses whether the Earth is flat or spherical based on various pieces of evidence.
According to Siegel, an observation of the shape of the earth’s shadow during a lunar eclipse, especially a partial phase shows that the shape of the earth’s shadow resembles a piece of a near-perfect circle. If the earth was flat, then the orientation of the Sun-Earth-Moon during a lunar eclipse would result in a circular shadow, as opposed to elliptical (Steffen and Bruzda). Moreover, the Lunar eclipse takes place at different times depending on the location of the earth. This occurrence cannot be explained by flat earth.
Seasons are experienced at different locations and different times on the earth's surface. Winter in Australia corresponds to summer in the United States, while summer in Argentina aligns with winter in Italy (Steffen and Bruzda). These occurrences can be explained by the fact that the sun’s rays are almost perfectly parallel and strike the earth at different angles at different times of the year. This would only be possible if the earth were spherical, or round. If the earth was flat, the sun’s rays would strike it at the same angle. This would mean that Australia, the USA, Argentina, and Italy would all experience the same seasons and in the same way. The idea of flat earth does not, therefore, coincide with these occurrences.
Different stars can be seen at different latitudes. When one looks at the sky during the night from a very high location in the northern latitude, the bright orange Arcturus star, the Pleiades, and the little and big dippers among other sights are visible (Simanek). However, from the southern pole, none of such celestial sights can be seen. However, the Southern Cross, the Alpha Centauri, and the Magellanic Clouds are visible, all of which cannot be seen from the most northern hemisphere. This is a clear indication of the round or spherical nature of the earth that cannot be explained by a flat earth surface. If it were flat, then everyone on the night side irrespective of their position would see the same sky and celestial bodies (Simanek).
Sunrises and sunsets take place at different times on the earth depending on one’s longitude. This contrasts with a flat earth occurrence as in this case, someone in New York and another in Los Angeles would experience a sunrise or a sunset at the same time (Furze). However, in practice, the difference between the occurrences in the two cities is approximately three hours. The fact that it can be late afternoon in Los Angeles and evening in New York cannot be accounted for by flat earth.
To conclude, the above occurrences stipulate clearly that the earth is round and not flat since they go against the expectations of a flat earth. Plenty of other nonscientific methods can be used to show that the earth is round, i.e., observing ships at the harbor, and observing the earth’s horizon, among others. Without any scientific experiments, the above phenomena are a handful that flat earth cannot account for.
Furze, Anders. Why Do Some People Believe the Earth is Flat? Pursuit, 2019. https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/why-do-some-people-believe-the-earth-is-flat
Siegel, Ethan. Five Impossible Facts that Would Have to be True if the Earth were Flat. Forbes.com, 2017. https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2017/11/24/five-impossible-facts-that-would-have-to-be-true-if-the-earth-were-flat/#550e1ba87c4f
Simanek, Donald. The Flat Earth. Lockhaven.edu, 2016. https://www.lockhaven.edu/~dsimanek/flat/flateart.htm
Steffen, Jason, and Bruzda, Natalie. Round Earth Clues: How Science Proves That Our Home is a Globe. University of Nevada, 2019. https://www.unlv.edu/news/release/round-earth-clues-how-science-proves-our-home-globe
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