Astronauts stationed about the International Space Station (ISS) have a lot of important research and technical work to attend to.
But they also get time to stare out the window at a view most humans will never see: our planet from above.
Jessica Meir, a highly-qualified US astronaut, is currently serving on board the ISS and snapped a glorious picture from the space station window showing the curvature of the Earth.
Meir posted the photo to Twitter and the small, vocal community of so-called ‘Flat Earthers’ got very unhappy about it. Because they think the Earth is flat and this photo quite obviously shows that it isn’t.
‘One of them tweeted back: ‘So from 400km above the earth you can view the whole round earth? Yeah very believable.’
The first orientation may make more sense to you, but to me this is the ever-changing skyline on @Space_Station (photo 3). Perspective. The constant traffic of visiting vehicles makes for diverse vistas. Now the #Canadarm2 keeps #Cygnus company after @SpaceX #Dragon ’s departure. pic.twitter.com/jfLMcDaf8R
— Jessica Meir (@Astro_Jessica) January 10, 2020
Another added: ‘Nice try with the fish eye, but it’s flat.’ While a third chimed in: ‘Yes. That’s fish eye lens. Make earth looks like round. Actually, the earth is Flat!’.
As the first commentator pointed out, the ISS orbits the Earth at 400km, which equates to 250 miles away and gives a perfectly good view of how spherical our planet is.
The vast majority of people commenting on the photo simply wanted to thank Meir for sharing the images.
Who are the new Flat Earthers?
A YouGov poll of 8,215 people in America found that 52% of people who believe the Earth is flat consider themselves ‘very religious’ – and say that evidence for the Earth being flat is found in scripture.
YouGov says, ‘For some flat earthers, evidence of the earth’s shape may be found in scripture – more than half of Flat earthers (52%) consider themselves “very religious,’ compared to just a fifth of all Americans (20%).
‘While an overwhelming majority of Americans (84%) believe that the Earth is round, at least 5% of the public say they used to believe that but now have their doubts.
Flat earthers find traction in their beliefs among a younger generation of Americans.
Young millennials, ages 18 to 24, are likelier than any other age group to say they believe the Earth is flat (4%).
And for those people still with a few lingering doubts about the shape of our home world, there’s a very handy Nasa post explaining everything you need to know .
‘Humans have known that Earth is round for more than 2,000 years! The ancient Greeks measured shadows during summer solstice and also calculated Earth’s circumference. They used positions of stars and constellations to estimate distances on Earth,’ the space agency explains.
‘They could even see the planet’s round shadow on the moon during a lunar eclipse. (We still can see this during lunar eclipses.)’
‘Today, scientists use geodesy, which is the science of measuring Earth’s shape, gravity and rotation. Geodesy provides accurate measurements that show Earth is round. With GPS and other satellites, scientists can measure Earth’s size and shape to within a centimeter. Pictures from space also show Earth is round like the moon.
‘Even though our planet is a sphere, it is not a perfect sphere. Because of the force caused when Earth rotates, the North and South Poles are slightly flat. Earth’s rotation, wobbly motion and other forces are making the planet change shape very slowly, but it is still round.’