ALT League

The science behind why the Earth is not flat is far more complex and fascinating than Cats, unfortunately. Here’s an analysis that relies on scientific reasoning to demonstrate that the Earth is an oblate spheroid, rather than a flat surface. Though I won’t use the cat example as a main point, it serves as a whimsical introduction to this important topic.

### 1. Gravitational Forces

In a flat Earth model, it would be challenging to explain how gravity works. Gravity pulls objects toward the center of mass, and in a sphere, this pull is uniform when measured at the surface. This is why objects fall straight down no matter where you are on Earth. On a flat plane, gravity would not pull straight down but would instead pull objects toward the center of the disk, causing inconsistent and bizarre gravitational effects as one moved further from the center.

### 2. Horizon and Line of Sight

If the Earth were flat, you would be able to see infinitely far (ignoring atmospheric effects like fog or air pollution). However, we observe that ships and planes appear to “emerge” from below the horizon. This can only happen if the Earth is curved. Similarly, different parts of the world see different sets of stars because of the Earth’s curvature; on a flat Earth, everyone would see the same stars in the night sky at the same time.

### 3. Photos from Space and Satellite Data

One of the most straightforward proofs is the visual evidence from space. Photos of the Earth from outer space clearly show it as a sphere. Additionally, numerous satellites orbiting Earth rely on precise calculations based on Earth’s shape and gravitational pull to function and maintain their orbits. These calculations would be incorrect if the Earth were flat.

### 4. Airplane Routes and Navigation

Airplane flight paths also provide evidence that the Earth is round. Pilots and navigators use Great Circle routes that take into account the Earth’s curvature to find the shortest distance between two points on the globe. If Earth were flat, the calculations for these routes would be significantly off. Additionally, GPS technology relies on a network of satellites orbiting Earth, and the mathematics ensuring they work is based on a spherical Earth model.

### 5. Geodetic Surveys and Laser Experiments

Various precise measurements of the Earth have been conducted, confirming its curvature. For example, the Eratosthenes experiment, conducted in ancient times, involved measuring the angles of shadows in different locations to calculate the Earth’s curvature. Modern laser-ranging experiments have shown similar results.

While the idea that “if the Earth were flat, cats would have pushed everything off it” is amusing, it doesn’t stand up to scientific scrutiny. But it serves a purpose: reminding us to question, investigate, and appreciate the amazing world we live in—a world that, thanks to rigorous scientific research, we can confidently say is not flat.