Is the Earth flat? How to solve this question once and for all

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Is the Earth flat? How to solve this question once and for all
Does this lovely blue planet look flat to you? (Picture: Getty)

The internet has allowed some truly bizarre theories to circumnavigate the world.

But few crackpot conspiracies are stranger than the claim that Planet Earth is actually flat.

Now it’s emerged that there are a few simple things you can say if you ever hear someone claiming our world is more like a pancake than a football – and they don’t involve a certain unprintable phrase beginning with the letter ‘f’ and ending with the word ‘off’.

Ian Whittaker, a lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, has published an article on The Conversation detailing how our species first figured out the Earth was round.

Basically, the ancient Greeks stuck up two sticks in different locations set 500 miles apart and compared their shadows.

Is the Earth flat? How to solve this question once and for all
This definitely isn’t what Planet Earth looks like

When the sun is directly overhead, the sticks produced no shadow whatsoever.

‘If the Earth were flat then both sticks should show the same shadow (or lack of) because they would be positioned at the same angle towards the sun,’ Whittaker wrote.

‘The ancient Greeks found the shadows were different because the Earth was curved and so the sticks were at different angles. They then used the difference in these angles to calculate the circumference of the Earth. They managed to get it to within 10% of the true value – not bad for around 250 BC.’

That’s one way of telling Flat Earthers where to stick their bizarre arguments, but there’s more.

You can also tell that our planet is globe-shaped by noting the differences between the views of space from the northern and southern hemispheres, which are totally different because they are facing in different directions.

If the Earth was flat, both hemispheres would have the same view.

Is the Earth flat? How to solve this question once and for all
This is one the pieces of ‘evidence’ used to claim Earth is not spherical (Picture: Eric Dubay/YouTube)

Astronomers peering out into the solar system also found that every other planet is spherical, making it highly unlikely that our own world is the only flat one.

If these points still haven’t convinced any Flat Earther you happen to come across, then there’s one final way to prove it: send a camera up to the edge of the atmosphere to take pictures of the curvature of the planet.

And if they’re still not convinced, then maybe it’s time to start talking to someone else.

MORE: Freddie Flintoff ‘joins growing list of celebrities who believe the Earth is flat’

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