One of the most commonly cited alleged proofs of the globe Earth is the disappearance of ships sailing beyond the horizon as seen from an observer on shore.
Globe Earthers since Aristotle have claimed the reason that ship hulls disappear before their mast-heads when sailing away is due to the physical curvature of the Earth obfuscating their view.
This simple supposed proof is still cited today by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Michelle Thaller and other NASA spokespeople, but is easily shown invalid with the use of modern zoom technology.
By fixing a good telescope or super-zoom camera aimed at the horizon on a clear day it is possible to bring ships that have completely disappeared beyond the supposed curvature of the Earth fully back into view.
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In the days of old, it was widely thought that ships disappeared beyond Earth’s curvature due to their proximity to the horizon. However, this long-held belief is actually false. Ships don’t mysteriously vanish because of a curved landscape; instead, it’s due to a combination of convergence, perspective, and the vanishing point.
The basic explanation is that it’s all an optical illusion – our eyes trick us into believing something that isn't true. A ship’s hull and superstructure will usually converge as it moves away from us, making it appear as if it is getting smaller and eventually disappearing from sight. A more detailed explanation reveals that the ship's hull and superstructure diminish in size as our perspective changes. As the ship moves farther away, the forward and aft parts of the hull seem to “swallow up” the sides. This narrowing of the visible area of the ship combined with the perspective of Earth's curved surface can create the illusion of the ship disappearing beyond the horizon.
The vanishing point also plays a vital role in this visual phenomenon. When an object is moved further away from the observer, its linear features converge at a single point on the horizon, creating the illusion that the object has effectively disappeared. This phenomena can be seen with long, straight roads or coastal shorelines that appear to converge at the horizon.
So, the next time you look out across the ocean and see a ship seemingly vanish beyond the horizon, don’t be fooled. While it may look like the ship has disappeared, due to the magical curvature of Earth, it’s actually because of convergence, perspective, and the vanishing point.