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Friday, November 4, 2016

Flat Earth Follies: Optical Zoom is MAGICAL!

Flat Earth Claim


Zooming in will bring distant objects back into view, proving there is no curvature hiding them.

and about as realisitc as a rainbow out of Spongebob's keister
Figure 1. Spongebob says Zoom is Magical

The Facts


I think Flat Earthers tend to forget that the observer height allows you to see OVER a lot of the curvature -- this is why your horizon distance increases with height in the first place.

But no, zoom doesn't do anything to objects that are actually over the horizon as can be seen very clearly in this very short zoom video (<< use link for full screen).


ONLY IF the object is not actually over the Horizon can zooming in on something that is too small to see with your naked-eye (or current magnification) bring it back into view.  So yes, you can find many circumstances where you can zoom way in and see something you couldn't before.  Whoop-de-do.

Zooming in here didn't bring ANYTHING back into view, it just made the view uniformly larger to our eyes.  This is the case that Flat Earthers ignore in order to continue their absurd belief that zooming in makes things magically reappear from behind the horizon.

This video is from Ryerson Park, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario which is about 30.2 miles (48,600 meters) to the CN Tower which itself is 1,815.4 feet (553.33 meters) high.

Both CN Tower and the observer at around 260 feet elevation so let's call that a wash.  At this distance the 'Drop' due to Earth's curvature is about 608 feet or 185 meters.

Now granted, we're only missing about 300 feet of the bottom of the city here (click to enlarge):

Figure 2. Showing bottom of Toronto Missing

The tower here is about 270 pixels total, 40 pixels obscured = 14.8% - so that's about 270 feet or so - but my closer-up image of the tower is tilted up more so that causes foreshortening - so call it 300 feet.  But don't take my word for it anyway -- go find a perfect distant image of the tower and measure it all out yourself and see how much you think is missing.

Here are some more views of Toronto showing a greatly variable amount of the lower city missing which points to refraction of light as the likely cause for the change in how much of the city we can see as atmospheric conditions change.  A layer of cold air above warmer air is a typical configuration which causes refraction effects known as towering and looming, both of which match the skyline we view above which is clearly very distorted compared to the actual skyline.

Figure 3. Toronto from Olcott (image credit)
And another...

Figure 4. Toronto from Olcott (image credit)

The view in the video is consistent with a high amount of refraction of 120% of Earth's radius of curvature while the other two views from the images require little or no refraction at all.

[Horizon Calculator]

And, while Flat Earthers like to appeal to 'Perspective' (another Magical effect for them), my post on Perspective shows that doesn't rescue their missing 300 feet of the city, nor does it explain the variability obvious from the above.  But variable refraction does explain the globe Earth view.

Here, just for an educational comparison, is the natural skyline -- note the big Rogers Centre next to it which is completely hidden in every one of the distant views.

(image credit)

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