I keep coming across more and more people claiming that the Earth is flat. While I am open to convincing, I haven’t yet been convinced by the arguments put forth. One such argument is the claim that the constant position of Polaris proves that the Earth is flat.
I did some preliminary research into the arguments surrounding this claim and have to agree with Debunking the Flat Earth that “This argument is actually irrelevant with respect to the shape of the earth and is merely a (bad) argument for a stationary [non-revolving] earth.” [Clarification added by me].
Debunking the Flat Earth explains how one can find one’s latitude in the Northern Hemisphere using the angle between the horizon and Polaris. This would not work if the earth was flat:
The congruous relationship between the altitude of Polaris and latitude of the earth is impossible on a flat earth. The geometry of a close star suspended above a flat plane is very different. To a traveler on a flat earth who is moving away from Polaris directly south, the apparent altitude of the star will appear to decline, but not at a constant rate as would be seen on a globe. In fact, the farther away the observer gets, the slower Polaris will appear to descend. It’s a matter of simple geometry. As the degree of altitude decreases, concurrent distances increase exponentially. This means that the altitude of Polaris will almost never agree with an observer’s latitude. To see Polaris at an altitude of 0° on the horizon (as is observed at the equator) would actually be impossible because an observer would have to be an infinite distance away.
Debunking the Flat Earth also addresses the argument that Polaris can be seen from the Southern Hemisphere and points out that the location and behavior of celestial objects like the sun does not jive with flat earth theory.
Overall, I’d have to give the debate to the round-earthers on this issue. Here is the link so you can read and evaluate the claims in more depth: http://debunkingflatearth.blogspot.ca/2016/02/debunking-flat-earth-how-polaris-proves.html
See also this excellent link shared by Debunking the Flat Earth: https://takethisskepticalblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/how-to-disprove-the-flat-earth/
What about you? Do you think the earth is round, flat, or some other shape?