- Neil deGrasse Tyson is a noted American astrophysicist with several honorary awards, including Cosmos Award by Planetary Society in 2015 and NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal in 2004.
- Tyson appeared in the 2000 People magazine as the sexiest astrophysicist alive.
- Discover magazine named him one of the "10 Most Influential People in Science" in 2008
- Tyson described Pluto as an object much like icy bodies in the outer solar system.
Science may have proved anti-vaxxers, creationists, climate change deniers and flat-Earthers wrong in various ways and with various experiments whose results can be easily reproduced, but they refuse to admit it.
The doggedness with which they continue to cling to their beliefs despite all this evidence seems to have touched a nerve with noted astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who has in the latest edition of his radio show StarTalk slammed flat-Earthers squarely.
The host of the popular space show "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" gave a long list of facts that even a dummy can look at and conclude that the Earth is spherical in shape.
The fact that some people still believe Earth is flat — hundreds of years after scientists proved otherwise — is shocking. Google Trends data shows a surge in the searches for "flat Earth", which could only mean that people are still curious about a long-dismissed conspiracy.
Flat-Earthers needn't get into the core of space exploration studies to understand that the Earth is round. A quick web search for images of Earth taken from space is proof enough to dismiss the flat Earth theory. But if you want more logic, Tyson's latest StarTalk YouTube video with co-host Chuck Nice has some good pointers.
In his latest interview, Tyson also blamed "free speech" and a "failed educational system" for the rise of the flat Earth theory.
"For me, the fact that there's a rise of flat-Earthers is evidence of two things. One, we live in a country that protects free speech. And, two, we live in a country with a failed educational system. Our system needs to train you not only what to know but how to think about information and knowledge and evidence. If we don't have that kind of training, you'd run around believing anything," Tyson said.
Tyson's guide for a spherical Earth for dummies in the latest video includes three main takeaways:
First, a lunar eclipse is a natural evidence supporting Earth's spherical shape. The shadow of the Earth cast on the Moon is clearly round every single time for the entire duration of the eclipse. If the Earth was flat, this wouldn't be possible. To test this theory, flat-Earthers can simply look up in the sky during the next lunar eclipse.
The second test proving that the Earth is round is watching a ship sail off into the horizon. Due to the Earth's round shape, the ship gradually disappears from view, which wouldn't be possible if the Earth was flat.
Finally, a bit more complicated and thorough test includes three wells at different locations. At noon, when the sun is directly over your head, try looking at the bottom of the well. Now go to the other two wells and do the same. The direction of the incoming sunlight would hit the bottom only in one of the three wells. The angles of the incoming sunlight will be different in all three wells, hence proving that Earth is round.
During the nine-minute video, Tyson also explained how every other planet in the solar system, including Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and the sun are all spheres, and how odd it is for someone to think that Earth is flat.
"Something doesn't square here," he said.
According to Tyson, the laws of physics and the way energy works favor the sphere, be it when forming a planet or other bodies in the space.
The flat Earth theory
Flat-Earthers have based their claims on certain beliefs and their theories are often matched with baseless experiments. Flat Earth Society has established various beliefs like gravity doesn't exist, Antarctica surrounds the Earth with "ice walls" surrounding our disc-shaped planet, the sun circles over Earth and that astronauts are aware of flat Earth, but they don't want to admit.
There's also a study to prove that the Earth is flat, and it's conducted over a body of water stretching for about six miles and then concluding saying there's no curvature to prove the Earth is round.
You can watch the full video here: