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Friday, April 21, 2017

Flat Earth Fever: Nikon P900 - 100% complete telescope replacement, cancel the James Webb!

Flat Earthers have made another amazing discovery!  We can cancel all those expensive telescope projects -- all you need is a HAND-HELD P900 with no manual focus and you can image anything!

Or... we can add 'basic optics' to the things that Flat Earthers fail to understand...

What I want to know is WHY do you believe that blurry, shaky, hand-held images of anything through a lens pushed beyond it's diffraction limit is an accurate representation?

When you view the planets and stars through quality telescopes, that are correctly aligned and focused, not being hand-held with shaky, violently moving around images they do not look anything like these images. Why is that?

Are you aware that image resolution is limited by the aperture of the optical instrument? A tiny camera aperture can only magnify it's own optical errors, giving you a completely false image. This is why telescopes are made larger and larger every year -- 10-inch, 14-inch, and now up to 32 FOOT wide telescopes enable greater image resolution that no tiny P900 camera can hope to achieve. Especially when the P900 lacked true manual focus -- it is incapable of being accurately focused because the stepper motor in the P900 steps are too large.

Resolution is limited by diameter -- this is a well-established FACT of optics.

So how do you justify this?

Here is what a quality observing instrument looks like:

That's an ~$8000 telescope mounted on an ~$10000 mount and several thousand more dollars in eyepieces, stable tripods, and cameras. Your $500 P900 isn't even in the same league - you have purchased a toy.  You do not have elite equipment.

Your P900 gives between 1-2 MP of useful image data when pushed to it's maximum focal length of 357mm -- yeah, they CALL IT 2000mm but it's actually 357mm -- it only APPEARS to be 2000mm because what they did was give you a TINY little sensor instead of a full frame sensor.   You put a 500mm lens on any prosumer grade camera with a Full Frame sensor and it will outperform your P900.  Uneducated consumers buy this thing because they think 83x sounds cool but don't realize that what really happened is Nikon pre-cropped their image WAY down.

See this period >>  .  <<

"That's my 16000mm lens equivalent!  Isn't it great!?  That's 4000x baby!  Let's see the Hubble do that!"  That nonsense is EXACTLY what P900 owners are doing - getting dog shit and calling it caviar.

Your P900 has a 1/2.3" sensor -- that's the TINY little blue box, one up from the smallest shown here.  Phone sensors are in the 1/4" - 1/3" range.  Your $500 camera has a sensor only slightly larger than my phone.

These telescopes can push 400x and image Full Frame and not be beyond their diffraction limit.

Now don't get me wrong -- for $500 the P900 is a decent Point & Shoot -- it will grab Point & Shoot grade images that other Point & Shoot cameras cannot, for a reasonable amount of money that most people can afford.  But you just embarrass yourself when you try to claim that this a telescope replacement.

And guess what, when you use real, quality Telescopes, you get not shaky, not PLAINLY AND OBVIOUSLY 100% blurry images out of them like this image of Mars from Thierry Legault:

MARS on August 20 2003 0h42UT, good conditions, 12" Schmidt-Cassegrain, Neptune 100 B&W video camera, RGB filters RRGB combination (luminance=125 images) Altitude above the horizon : 31°
Image Credit: Thierry Legault

Meanwhile, Flat Earthers actually claim this is the REAL mars and the above is a fake -- this is taken from the above video.

Clearly these people have zero shame or zero sense -- honestly not sure which.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Flat Earth Follies: Mount Denali from Hilltop Ski Area

Another Flat Earth Meme - another pile of lies...

It's either a lie because they purposeful get these things are wrong or they are lying about their level of expertise.  I'll let you judge which one but this level of dishonesty/incompetence is inexcusably disgusting.

Flat Earth Claim:

#RESEARCHFLATEARTH it implores us.  What a load of crap.

It seems to be a nearly universal rule that #FlatEarthers never include any reference data to back up their claims.  This meme is full of assertions which are just flat out WRONG.

Let's unpack...

CLAIM: 4.5 miles of missing curvature

If my eye was half-way underwater at ground-level then it would be 4.5 miles of curvature, relative to THAT point from 190 miles away.  Since our viewpoint is NOT at ground-level -- it's some 240 meters up and the mountain (nor horizon) is 190 miles away -- this claim is complete nonsense.

These factual differences make a HUGE difference in our view, as I will show below.

CLAIM: Mount McKinley

I don't think so TIM.

First of all, fuck you for calling it Mount McKinley.  Secondly, that is very clearly NOT Denali.

Why do flat earthers feel the need to lie about everything?  Oh right, the facts don't support their claims.

DENALI itself is ~140 miles away -- and guess what you CAN see Denali from there also (see FEI Calculator), only about 7459.5 feet would be 'obscured' from here out of the 20,310 feet -- so more than half of Denali should be visible.

CLAIM: 140 miles

Um no.  That's 140 KILOMETERS to the mountain shown, not miles.  And the view shown from that elevation over that distance is completely consistent with the Globe model.

From 140 km at 240m up the obscured value is only 1851.8 feet - or about 16% of the height of that mountain range.  Which means we should still be able to see 84% of the height -- looks about right to me.

CLAIM: 190 miles away (horizon?)

I can only guess that they have pulled this number from their sphincter, like everything else here.

For 240 meters elevation the horizon would be sqrt(h(h+2×R)) which is about 34 miles to the horizon.  Beyond that distance we would expect to only see things that are tall enough to stick up beyond the horizon distance.

Here is most of the above information in one compact 'counter-meme':

Is it possible they tried their level best and got everything so wrong?

Here is the view from peakfinder -- notice how the 20,310 foot tall Denali is the same apparent height of Mount Susitna, which is 65.4 km away but only 4117 feet high and Mount Spurr which is 136.7 km away and 11070 foot high just barely peeks over the line?

The distance alone does not account for the change in apparent height.  Yes, more distant things would appear smaller due to perspective but not in this proportion.

We can verify this by applying the law of perspective which is very simple -- the angular size (α) of something in our field view is given by dividing one half the size (g/2) by the distance (r) -- which gives us a slope, which we convert to an angle with the arctangent function and we double that.

α = 2*arctan((g/2)/r)

Let's try it:

Denali - 225.0 km - 20308' (6.19 km) - angular size: 1.576°
Mount Susitna - 65.4 km - 4117' (1.255 km) - angular size: 1.099°
Mount Spurr - 136.7 km - 11070' (3.374 km) - angular size: 1.414°

So you can very plainly see that peakfinder is taking into account curvature of the Earth.

You can also line this up with photographic evidence and compare -- and you'll find that your view of the Earth matches the view expected ONLY when we take the curvature into account.

This is as close to an 'original' as I could find for this image - I wasn't able to find the source, nor a very high-resolution version.  But this version makes it extremely clear that this isn't Denali.  If you find a high-resolution version or the original source please let me know as I would like to credit them.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Earth's Axial Tilt (Globulists are CLEARLY busted this time) - The Neighbor Of The Beast!

A common Flat Earth claim I see Is about Earth's Axial tilt = 66.6 -- there is just 0.039281th of a problem...

Posted On YouTube, see full comment

Ouch!  Missed it by " that much.

Oh, and נָשָׂא (nasa) means to Lift or Carry. To be accepted. To honor.

However, I see that 'Your Dad' means to deceive.

Friday, April 14, 2017

X-15 at 317,000 feet proves Earth is Flat?

Flat Earthers have claimed that the X-15 footage from 317,000 feet proves the Earth is flat.

For example, in this video:

I say they either purposely or ignorantly used a frame where the infrared camera has the horizon washed out because a few seconds later in the SAME VIDEO you can see the horizon very distinctly and it's very clearly curved -- and more than that, curved exactly as much as we would expect.

Here is the frame they picked:

But just a few seconds later in the video we can see the horizon much more clearly:

More over, we can see from the dimensions of the aircraft that this is a fairly narrow Field of View, I estimate about 30 degrees here:

In my image the horizon view is about 1330 pixels wide, plugging that and 317,000 feet with 30° FOV into my Horizon calculator we get an estimated 15 pixels for the *apparent* sagitta height.  Which matches what we see in the footage.

Flat Earth fails again.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Flat Earth Faux Pas : What Is The Horizon?

Over and Over and Over Flat Earthers talk about the horizon they very clearly think it should be the size of the whole Earth and you should be able to take the portion of Visible Arc and make a circle the size of the Earth out of it.   WRONG.

Nothing could be further from the truth and this really exposes just how little Flat Earthers understand about the geometry of what they see.

Here is a computed view of the horizon from 400km up -- roughly where the ISS orbits the Earth.

So what exactly is that boundary between Earth and Sky we see in the distance?

Here is a low altitude, extremely wide-angle view, looking down -- this should give you a clue.  Are you seeing the "Limb" of the Earth here?

How about this Spheroid?

The closer we get, the less of the sphere we can see... but we ALWAYS have a horizon and even at 400km above Earth that horizon is a FRACTION of the whole Earth.

So what is the horizon?

First of all, the HORIZON is the visible boundary between our spheroid and whatever lies beyond.  It literally comes from "Limiting Circle".  And it says nothing about the shape of whatever is INSIDE that circle -- but the horizon itself is a circle.  If you are out on the ocean the horizon is about equidistant in every direction around you.  That's called a circle.  How do Flat Earthers fail to understand this?


And, more importantly, it is a CIRCLE that is perpendicular to the sphere -- it is NOT the EDGE of the sphere which would be Earth sized.  You can never see such a thing.  At a very great distance it APPEARS that you are seeing "The Sphere" but you aren't, you are seeing up to the limit of your horizon on that sphere -- which approaches seeing 1/2 of the sphere.

But as we get further away we're seeing that last bit of the sphere at an increasingly sharp angle -- and with Earth's atmosphere, that means that you really cannot make out anything for a substantial portion of the distance which you can *theoretically* see.  A huge portion of that distance makes up a tiny little sliver of your visual field -- too small for your eyes to resolve usually, and too distant and blurry for even a telescope to do much good at greater distances.

In short -- the horizon is the GREEN line in this diagram.  And, as shown, this is a little more than TWICE the altitude of the ISS.

The grid above is not just an arbitrary grid either - I created it to fit an image taken from the ISS.

And, as you can see, it fit rather nicely:

And then I also compared that with a Google Earth computed view using Google Earth Pro image overlay -- since images don't capture the exact lat/long/heading/angles it take a little work to get some arbitrary image to line up but the fit here is pretty good.  Showing that the DISTANCES here are exactly as they should be.  And once you understand that the horizon is a circle centered at your feet and ALMOST parallel to your eyes as you look out towards the horizon it's easy to understand why that arc SHOULD NOT and COULD NOT form an Earth sized circle... it's not a CIRCLE at all from your viewpoint, it's an ellipse -- which is a circle viewed at an angle.

Circles viewed at an angle are ellipses.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Flat Earth Follies: Fake Photoshop, just look at the GRID in the clouds!

Flat Earthers love to claim everything is a fake.

How do they know?  Well just LOOK at the GRID in those clouds, LOL...  Checkmate Globers!


Look at similarly compressed cloud JPGs from just about ANY source.  Here is an aerial image from A flight to Paraguay - you can see the SAME grid behavior because THIS IS PART OF HOW JPG COMPRESSION WORKS.  I've saved these in .png to avoid further artifacting but you can get the originals and see the same things by zooming in using an appropriate image viewing tool.

If you want to show an image is a fake you need to go find the ORIGINAL uncompressed RAW/TIF data for that image and PROVE it's a fake.  Showing me JPG artifacts in a JPG image doesn't prove anything is a fake.

Here is a good resource for that -- they are hosting hundreds of thousands of images here:

Try 'ISS039-E' for a start -- that's almost 12K images.

Recommend getting GIMP to edit RAW files.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Flat Earth Follies: We should see the stars!

Flat Earth Claim

We should see the stars in NASA photos of Moon or Earth!

The Facts

This is yet another case of Moon Landing Hoaxers and Flat Earthers making false statements about things which they know nothing about.  Ask them how they determined that and you'll get something between a blank stare and a bunch of hand waving.

Truth is, they have NO idea - it's just a stupid meme they pass around.

Here is an image I took of the moon through a very nice set of binoculars I own...

Figure 1. The moon via binoculars & iPhone. 

The moon is probably actually a little overexposed here since it is losing detail in the brightest areas.  But even with that, absolutely NO STARS ARE VISIBLE at this exposure level.

Why can our eye see both but the camera can't?  First of all, a full moon will make it incredibly difficult for you to see all but the brightest stars around it.  If we put you to the test you would fail to see much of anything next to a full moon.  But a deeper answer is that your eye is actually pretty good.

A healthy human eye can see over a range of about 20 stops under scotopic vision conditions (low-light - but only about 10 stops in bright light), which means the brightest parts of the scene you see can be about 1,000,000 times brighter than the dimmest parts (that is, roughly, 2^20).  That is all 'stop' means, in this context 1 stop means the brightness has doubled.  Double that 20 times and you get just a little over 1 million times brighter.  Your eye achieves this in part because the pigments in your retina that sense the light do not have a linear response.

When a camera records 14-bit RAW format it means you could have 2^14 (or 14 stops) of range, but in practice the camera sensor may limit you further than this even though it is recording 14-bits of data it doesn't mean all 14 bits are perfectly recorded and accurate.  But there are some cameras which get pretty close to true 14 stop recording such as the Sony PMWF55, which will also cost you about $35,000 list.  I've little doubt that in the coming years we can push that to 16 bits or even 20 bits eventually (some of which already exist in limited forms).  But dynamic range also comes at a cost in terms of noise and other image quality factors.  When you care about low-light sensitivity you need a large sensor area, that means you usually sacrifice pixels for quality.  There are many other trade-offs that must be made when sending a camera into space for a specific mission.  Whoever is paying for the mission sets those parameters, for example they may need infrared sensitivity which means you aren't going to find a 4K sensor with 14 stop dynamic range in infrared.  You might only get an 8 bit sensor in this case, and it might only be 1024x1024 pixels.

So here is the problem...

The moon from Earth has an apparent brightness magnitude of about -12.5 and even the brightest star, Sirius A, has an apparent magnitude of only -1.5 (and most of the stars are much dimmer than Sirius A).  The Magnitude scale is similar to 'stops' except that 5 magnitude = 100 times brighter.  So that means that the moon is about 25118 times brighter than the brightest star or 14.6 stops.  That's just outside of the range of the best Earth-bound technology sensors -- and it usually takes a few generations before bleeding edge technology can be space hardened to use in the planning stages for a mission and then another decade before the mission is ready to fly.  So even a mission going to space today would be using 10-20 year, space-hardened technology.

So, because of the brightness range of our sensors (dynamic range) and the great disparity between the brightness of the Moon (or Earth) and the stars, it is incredibly unlikely to see stars in an image where a fully lit Moon or Earth are properly exposed.

If some Flat Earther needs to see the stars and the moon in the same shot then I recommend they fund such a mission on their own using a Sounding Rocket and see how well that works out for them.

When you DO find images of the Moon with stars in them you can almost be certain that it is a composite image of different exposures which has later been remixed.  There is a very popular technique for this called HDR Photography (High-Dynamic Range) which does exactly that, you take 2 or more images at different exposures and the software will mix those images together to give you details in the shadows and highlights that would be missing from a single image.

Conversely, there are TONS of images of stars where the Earth or Moon are way overexposed.

There are also images from ISS showing stars and a dimmer side of Earth such as ISS044-E-45215:

Image Credit: NASA ISS044-E-45215


The claim is completely false if not entirely disingenuous in many cases and there are plenty of images of stars from space - even some showing a dimly lit Earth.