One of the most common alleged proofs quoted for the spherical Earth theory is the Eratosthenes sticks and shadows experiment. Many people may remember NASA spokesman Carl Sagan presenting this experiment by using a map of Egypt with two obelisks attached and showing their resulting shadows.

Eratosthenes Experiment Debunks Flat Earth?

Since ancient times, the debate over the shape of the Earth has been a source of much perplexity. While a spherical model is generally accepted, there are still those who support the idea of a flat Earth. Despite its dismissal by the scientific community, some have argued that the Ancient Greek mathematician and geographer Eratosthenes disproved the flat Earth theory with an experiment he famously carried out around 276BC.

However, upon analyzing Eratosthenes’ experiment in more detail, it is clear that it is not a sufficient argument to completely debunk the flat Earth theory. This is because the experiment was based on two incorrect assumptions — namely, that the sun is 93 million miles away and that the sun’s rays are parallel when they hit the Earth.

The first assumption — that the sun is 93 million miles away — is false. While this figure is popularly accepted, it contradicts the established flat Earth theory. According to this belief, the sun is much closer to the Earth, perhaps as little as a few thousand miles away. A smaller, closer sun would still be able to cast a shadow during the solstice, producing the same effect as seen in Eratosthenes’ experiment.

The second assumption — that sun rays are parallel in the flat Earth model — is also inaccurate. While this may appear to be the case, there is no scientific evidence for the rays being strictly parallel. In fact, the flat Earth theory does not propose any particular pattern of rays; rather, it claims that the sun stays in a fixed position and casts light downwards in all directions. As such, the experiment does not do enough to disprove the notion that the sun is closer to the Earth than 93 million miles.

Overall, while Eratosthenes’ experiment has advanced scientific knowledge in myriad ways, it is an insufficient argument to definitively disprove the flat Earth theory. Despite its reputation, this ancient model cannot be discarded so easily; there are still some puzzling questions that need to be answered before a conclusion can be reached.