Amid the brutal social media war between flat-Earthers and, you know, sane and educated people, renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has decided to weigh in.
As often happens when he visits the battlefield, the scales have been tipped and the war is now over.
Recently, flat-Earthers everywhere have been the focus of unusual attention after “Mad” Mike Hughes, a limousine driver/part time rocket designer from California teamed up with the Research Flat Earth organization to develop a steam-powered rocket able to fly high enough to take a picture of the entire planet and “prove” the Earth is a flat disc floating through space.
News outlets, scientific communities and ordinary people on the internet have mocked, ridiculed and argued against the inherent absurdity of the plan, prompting a storm of discussions on social media.
Of course, Tyson couldn’t resist the opportunity to weigh in with a brilliant meme that’s still making guys like Kyrie Irving and rapper B.O.B scratch their heads.
A Lunar Eclipse flat-Earther’s have never seen. pic.twitter.com/HuApDwa85n
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) November 26, 2017
Seriously though – one of the recurrent points everyone’s making is that, well, you don’t actually need to spend thousands of dollars and risk your life to prove the Earth is round. We’ve known that for 2,500 years now, and anyone can verify it for free.
One of the easiest and most straightforward methods is to climb up a tree on a sunny day. If the Earth were to be flat, you’d be able to see the same distance independent of your elevation. But that isn’t the case: you can actually see further as you go higher.
In other words, if the Earth was flat, you could see Moscow’s city lights from Oslo in a clear evening. But we can’t because the curvature of the Earth limits our sight to about 5 kilometres, and this changes as you go higher.
So there’s that. Zero dollars invested. No lives put in danger.
Another cheap, well-documented experiment for your anti flat-Earth starter kit is actually one the ancient Greeks devisedin around 250 B.C.E.
They stuck sticks in the ground at different locations, far apart one from one another, and compared their shadows. If the planet was flat, every shadow would be exactly the same. But they aren’t.
There are actually heaps of ways to prove the Earth is round, and we could spend hours on it. But I’ll just leave here one more.
Look up in the sky right now. No, don’t stare at the ceiling, we need you to actually look AT the sky.
Is the sun up? Then why the hell is it nighttime on the other side of the world?
Now if that isn’t enough and your flat-Earth mates still don’t believe you, there’s always Neil deGrasse Tyson, probably the most beloved astrophysicist in the world.