Astronomical Violations of Perspective was an essay published in The Earth Review magazine October, 1893 by flat earther Albert Smith detailing the law of perspective and debunking the popular globe-Earth proof of ships disappearing beyond the horizon.

In October of 1893, Albert Smith published an essay named “Astronomical Violations of Perspective” in The Earth Review magazine. Smith, who was a flat Earth believer, wrote the piece in an attempt to debunk the popular proof of a spherical Earth – ships disappearing beyond the horizon. Smith’s essay argued that in reality, the view of a ship sinking into the horizon was a result of the law of perspective and not indicative of a curved surface.

Smith began his essay by explaining the law of perspective to the reader. He states “This law holds that every object seen from a point at a distance appears to diminish in its size and its diameter being a fraction of its actual one at the distance measured.” Smith continued by using several illustrations to demonstrate the law of perspective.

The rest of Smith’s essay focused on examining the proof of a curved Earth provided by ships sinking into the horizon. He argued that the illusion of a sinking ship was due to the law of perspective. He demonstrated that when the ship’s hull is visible, the observer is too close and the ship is in fact not sinking into the distance. When the observer is at a greater distance and the horizon no longer visible, the hull of the ship is also no longer visible due to the law of perspective. Therefore, Smith claimed, instead of a curved surface, the appearance of a sinking ship is due to the diminishing size of the ship as it gets further away.

Smith concluded by talking about the implications of his argument. If there is no curved surface, he theorized, then the Earth can’t be a sphere and must be flat. Smith’s essay thus provided an alternative explanation for the perspective of ships disappearing over the horizon and set the stage for the continued debate of the shape of the Earth.