Demonstrating the Curve of the Earth with observations of Beachy Head from Worthing

Mick West

Staff member

In this video a Flat Earther called "Dr. John" shares his observations of the coastline from the Southern English town of Worthing. He correctly identifies some landmarks along the way, but then it all goes wrong when he claims to be able to see the cliffs of Beachy Head, and then claim this "disproves the globe"

A clue to what he is doing wrong is that the "Beachy head" looks like a little white dot, where as Seaford head looks like giant white cliffs.

This is odd, because if the Earth was Flat, then Beachy Head would also look like giant white cliffs.

He also does some calculations, showing that 92 meters of the cliff should be hidden behind the curve, and hence he concluded that he has disproved the globe.

Bold claim, and wrong. Luckily he zoomed in enough on one shot that we can use this to fit the skyline to the actual view, and see what is going on. He's actually seeing the cliff that's behind the lighthouse! This cliff is 106m high, and a little further away, but the top 10 meters would be visible as white dot just like we see in Dr. John's video.

So instead of disproving the globe, it looks very like Dr . John has actually proved it.

Attachments

• Worthign to Beachy Head (Dr. John).kmz
60.5 KB · Views: 427

Rory

Senior Member.

Would you be able to do a slide comparison of this shot, with Seaford Head also in the picture? I think that would show what's going on really well.

Mick West

Staff member
[compare]

[/compare]

It's not perfect, because:
A) Seaford head is closer, and the raising of the viewpoint in GE to the a "Flat Earth" view has made the skyline behind it raise up slightly. This is a common problem in views along the coast like this.
B) The cliffs ar Seaford Head, as Dr. Jonn points out, are rendered incorrectly in GE, with the grass and the path coming down the side.

Mick West

Staff member
Copied from the other thread: https://www.metabunk.org/observations-of-brighton-from-worthing-pier.t10259/#post-227192

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Of course, he made it as hard as possible for himself by getting as close to the water line as possible, therefore maximizing the chance of refraction confusing any observation.

Looking at that region (south coast of England) though, there's a great potential spot for the target of observation, the Belle Tout Lighthouse, about 24 miles from Worthing

From about 12 feet eye elevation at Worthing, the top of the cliff should just be visible.

But crouched down on the beach, it should be invisible.

You could then go up to nearby Cissbury Ring, 600 feet up, from where you will be able to see all of the cliffs.

In the above I wasn't really accounting for refraction, so crouched down near the ocean might still get a peek of white cliffs.

The difference between beach observations and Cissbury Ring observations should be stark and definitive.

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Colin Parkinson

New Member
If you go to his repeating the beachy head observation video, at 17:30 you can see a large boat hidden by the horizon. A total ranty flat earth

Opps. Source: https://youtu.be/XYixGyQcMRo

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Mick West

Staff member
He has responded in usual style here:

His key error seems to be:

My image (bottom) is from his actual view location. His location is much closer because he has missed that I've zoomed in from the original location, whereas he has just moved the camera very close.

I sent him this, 2 days ago:

Along with the attached KMZ file. All he had to do was either A) recreate it from the info in the image above, or B) load the attached KMZ file, like:

Attachments

• Worthing to Beach Head DETAIL.kmz
2 KB · Views: 352

Rory

Senior Member.
My image is from his actual view location [...] whereas he has just moved the camera very close.

That's a real head-scratcher: that a supposedly educated man would not see the difference between moving the camera closer and zooming.

Perhaps a good way to demonstrate the error there: I take a picture of a wall and zoom in on it. I can't see what's behind the wall. But if I move my camera closer, even though I get the same width of wall as the zoomed image, I can now see things behind it because my angle has changed.

Does he only appear to respond to YouTube videos? Seems like he doesn't read the threads here.

Also interesting to note that he now appears to have gone "full flat earth", whereas previously he would deny that he was a flat earther, merely stating that the particular stretches of water he had observed appeared flat, but he knew nothing about the rest of the world.

deirdre

Senior Member.
Perhaps a good way to demonstrate the error there: I take a picture of a wall and zoom in on it. I can't see what's behind the wall. But if I move my camera closer, even though I get the same width of wall as the zoomed image, I can now see things behind it because my angle has changed.

you mean like a cow wall? or a garden/yard wall? because I cant see over a garden/yard wall if I move closer to it.

(note: in Britain I think people call their yards "gardens". So I used "garden". And "yard" shouldn't be confused with the American measurement of 3 feet. )

Mick West

Staff member
A more detailed response:

I made this because his accusation of faking has been very popular with the Flat Earth crowd. So to save time in the long run I did a quick screen capture explaining how the image is made.

Rory

Senior Member.
You mean like a cow wall or a garden/yard wall? Because I can't see over a garden/yard wall if I move closer to it.

Sure you can - depending on your elevation, and how close to the wall the thing you want/are then able to see is.
(Note: in Britain I think people call their yards "gardens".

Over here, a garden has grass and flowers in it, while a yard is cement or brick. A lawn is just grass.
I made this because his accusation of faking has been very popular with the Flat Earth crowd. So to save time in the long run I did a quick screen capture explaining how the image is made.

Very good, that.

Crazy John

New Member
It is very noteable how, in conversation with these guys, their explanations for what is seen quickly devolve into 'you must be faking it'. Thank you for putting the leg work in Mick West, I work in education and I expect I'll run into kids who've been sold these claims sooner or later, so having a resource like metabunk to refer to is very useful. It also makes this for some good demonstrating is of how science works, and how ancient people's could have worked out the shape of the world!

Nth

Member
That's a real head-scratcher: that a supposedly educated man would not see the difference between moving the camera closer and zooming.

Perhaps a good way to demonstrate the error there: I take a picture of a wall and zoom in on it. I can't see what's behind the wall. But if I move my camera closer, even though I get the same width of wall as the zoomed image, I can now see things behind it because my angle has changed.

Does he only appear to respond to YouTube videos? Seems like he doesn't read the threads here.

Also interesting to note that he now appears to have gone "full flat earth", whereas previously he would deny that he was a flat earther, merely stating that the particular stretches of water he had observed appeared flat, but he knew nothing about the rest of the world.
He does strike me as a bit of an odd character -- without going into a huge amount of detail, he's put out an analyzed video from someone else showing the Belle Tout Lighthouse from 30-some kilometers away. He correctly points out that we're more than predicted by geometry and geometry + standard refraction, but still can't make the bottom 60 meters of the cliff that the lighthouse is situated on appear.

For reference, here's a screencap from his video (unannotated):

And an annotated one:

at 12:19 and 15:08, respectively

If this ends up going to another thread, I'll break down the methodology further, but basically by creating a pixel scale with reference to the height of the lighthouse, I also get the water level intersecting the cliff at 60 meters. He finds points directly in Google Earth. All told, I calculate globe earth to off by about 52 feet relative to geometric predictions, and flat earth to off by 198 feet, about 4x greater. It's even right there in his video, so I'm not sure how he can claim that we "don't live on a globe."

Attachments

• BelleToutLightHouse.PNG
976 KB · Views: 743
• BelleToutLighthouseAnnotated.PNG
1.2 MB · Views: 744

Rory

Senior Member.
How do the figures look? I.e., distances and elevations, including variations in the tide?

Nth

Member
How do the figures look? I.e., distances and elevations, including variations in the tide?
The video maker is ostensibly measuring everything from the tidal level -- that gives a viewer height of 2.05 meters at 36.3 kilometers. The lighthouse is listed as being 46 feet high and situated on ground that Google Earth thinks is at 266 feet elevation.

By the pixel method, using the first image in my post above, I got about 168 pixels for the 46 feet of lighthouse, with 416 pixels between the top of the lighthouse and the water level. With the combined height of the lighthouse and cliff being 312 feet, we can use the pixel relation to find a visible amount of 114 feet, which leaves 198 feet or 60 meters observed to be missing, as Dr. John appears to agree.

There's arguably a more in-depth analysis that could be done, I was personally quite satisfied with reaching the same conclusion as him that slightly over 60 meters of cliff are obstructed.

Rory

Senior Member.
...and situated on ground that Google Earth thinks is at 266 feet elevation.

That would be my first check: Google Earth can sometimes be very inaccurate on elevations.

For the US, I was using caltopo.com. For England, maybe the Ordnance Survey or something similar. Or probably there's an accurate figure on a page detailing the lighthouse itself.

Mick West

Staff member
Here's the GE view from as low as it will go.

Note this is the GEOMETRIC view, ignoring any refraction

Here's a "pseudo-flat-earth" view:

And here's what is in the video:

Nth

Member
That would be my first check: Google Earth can sometimes be very inaccurate on elevations.

For the US, I was using caltopo.com. For England, maybe the Ordnance Survey or something similar. Or probably there's an accurate figure on a page detailing the lighthouse itself.
The Wikipedia page for Belle Tout lighthouse itself ended up being a bust, but there is an article/list of lighthouses in England that lists the focal height of the lighthouse:

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_lighthouses_in_England

More particularly, Wikipedia gets its information from information from here: http://www.ibiblio.org/lighthouse/engs.htm

So, unless the top of the lighthouse is a full 27 feet above the focal plane, which seems unlikely, my estimate is a bit off, up to 27 feet more visible than expected. This is without considering tidal effects, which I am personally not well versed in. Still, that makes the worst case scenario 171 feet hidden and 79 feet more visible than expected, which again basically only makes the case for a larger spherical earth, or the existence of refraction.

Rory

Senior Member.
I've had a quick look, but I seem to remember from before that it wasn't immediately easy to find good elevation information for Bell Tout. So far I've seen figures ranging from 270 to 295 feet (and one of 350, that I think can be discounted).

Interestingly, if they had a way of measuring it, the lighthouse when viewed from Worthing is actually below eye level, so they're looking down on it.

That would be a good observation for Dr John and crew to make.

Mick West

Staff member
Google Earth has two distinct elevation data sets, the "Terrain" and the "3D buildings"

Terrain is just elevation data from various sources with a satellite image slapped on top. It's not particularly accurate, and does not handle cliffs very well

3D Building is a properly 3D scanned environment created from low altitude mapping flights with LIDAR accurate to better than 1 foot and photos from multiple angles. It does a vastly better job. This is the same cliffs as above, with the camera in the same position.

The 3D building dataset does not cover everywhere, focussing more on actual buildings and landmarks. Not all the cliffs have it:

So the data from the 3D buildings is very accurate. You can drop a pin on top of a building and it will give you a very accurate altitude (absolute WGS84)

The trick is to drop a pin, and in the info box change the altitude mode to "Absolute" and check "Track cursor height"

It's easier to position if you look straight down, just rotate the view after to verify it's actually on top.

So this gives us 312 feet. The brown courtyard in front is 265 feet. So 47 feet is a fairly good estimate for the visible portion of the lighthouse from Shoreham and Worthing.

Mick West

Staff member
Dr. John has uploaded some great reference footage from a higher viewpoint that helps set things in perspective.

It's taken from higher up on the beach, maybe 40 feet or more

So you can see more of the Beachy Head cliffs.

But still missing the great majority of the cliffs below the Belle Tout lighthouse

Mick West

Staff member
It's taken from higher up on the beach, maybe 40 feet or more
Might have overestimated there. This shot:

Suggest an Eye altitude of 18 feet above MSL, so 15 feet on a tripod. However the tide is nearly fully out

Based on that another 4 feet above the actual water level seems reasonable. so 19 feet.

Mick West

Staff member
Using people as rough measurments.

If the woman on the right down near the water is about 5 feet, then that puts eye level at around 20 feet, as it takes four of her to reach the horizon. It's very approximate but shows the ballpark figure is correct.

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Bobby Shafto

New Member
I'm working on a presentation, put to video, that I hope offers an open challenge to the flat earth community. I wanted to incorporate observations made from flat earthers claiming to "debunk" curvature calculators, and these recent shots of Beachy Head from Worthing seemed like as good as any.

I'm just hesitant to give John D. anymore attention outside of his fanbase. He declares you (Mick) irrelevant, yet is spending quite amount of time trying to draw you into some feud of sorts.

SubManStan

New Member
with respect..the 'Dr John' observations are reality..that's a given...yes?

The counter...here...is taking (and dare I say manipulating however so slight) stuff from 'Google Earth'...with numerous caveats.

I have no time for 'feuds' or 'sides' but given the recent 'this is spot on but not if you are on the beach' changes to the famous 'curve calculator' I have seen nothing of SUBSTANCE that 'debunks' 'Dr John' other than 'we all agree with Mick'.

I look forward to some SERIOUS adult discussion, outside of personalities, which directly addresses the claims of 'Dr John' over and above 'it can't be, because we said so'.

cheers

x

Mick West

Staff member
I look forward to some SERIOUS adult discussion, outside of personalities, which directly addresses the claims of 'Dr John' over and above 'it can't be, because we said so'.

But the posts above explain why Dr. John's claims are wrong. It seems quite clear that the cliff is below the ocean horizon.

So what more needs to be addressed? Can you be specific, in your own words, as to what you think I got wrong?

Mick West

Staff member
given the recent 'this is spot on but not if you are on the beach' changes to the famous 'curve calculator'

The change was the addition of this line:
Which simply clarifies an existing note lower down on the page:
It makes no real difference to the problems with Dr. John's observations, as his observations show a substantial portion of the cliffs missing. The precise number is not that important. What is important here is that the ocean appears to be curved.

Bobby Shafto

New Member
with respect..the 'Dr John' observations are reality..that's a given...yes?
I say "yes." They are reality.

And reality is that we can't see major portions of the cliffs below the Belle Tout lighthouse.

His logic is that the images he's capturing are showing elevations at distance that are lower than those predicted by earth curve calculators disprove the globe. But whether with or without standard refraction, they aren't proving the earth to be flat. Right?

So the curvature calculators aren't precise. What is the prediction of a flat earth calculator? If not 0m hidden, then what and why? At least the curvature calculators put values out there based on geometry and (some) generalized adjustment for atmospheric refraction. All I see from the John D.'s is "you can see what shouldn't be able to be seen on a globe" of a certain radius. But where is flat earth prediction that we can likewise put to the observational test? I keep beating a drum for this -- you know, for a method backed by John's demand for "empirical proof" -- that is more than vague claims of perspective or angular limits to optical resolution or convergence zone/mirroring for why anything is hidden at all if earth is flat.

The atmosphere varies. Atmospheric optics across long distances, particularly at earth surface skimming elevations, are wildly variable. Even the flat earth arguments claim that as reasons for why things are hidden. But folks like John want to hold the globe earth to a hard calculation/prediction and declare the calculation "debunked" if it isn't precise; and do so without any risk of offering an alternative calculator/predictor using a flat earth model.

That's what I think is lacking in substance when it comes to John D and that kind of approach to declaring the earth to be flat.

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Cassi O

Active Member
I used CAD to illiterate how the Beachy Head cliffs appeared below Seaford Head as seen from the Worthing Sailing Club due to the curvature of the Earth. I told Dr. John in a yt comment and even emailed him, but so far I've not gotten a response from him or any of his subs.

It's been a great learning experience. The drop increases as a function of distance, so even though if standing at Seaford Head the drop between Seaford Head and Beachy Head is less than a meter, looking from Worthing the drop between the two is about 40 meters. On a flat plane line of sight (perspective) Seaford Head and Beachy Head appear to be the same height, but on a globe Seford Head appears about 28 meters above Beachy Head (about what it looks like in Dr. John's video.)

Cassi O

Active Member
Beachy Head Line of Sight (Perspective View)

A followup to my previous video showing the difference between the line of sight from Worthing to the Beachy Head cliffs on a flat plain and globe.

Note Units are Kilometers

Seaford Head would appear level with Beachy Head on a flat plane, and 27.6 meters above Beacky Head on a globe.

The angular size of Beachy Haed as seen from Worthing on a flat plane is only 0.13 degrees (compared to the angular size of the sun at 0.5 degrees). In the real world this shallow angle is where refraction is the greatest as seen with zoomed in images of the sun during sunset.

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Cassi O

Active Member
Dr. John has uploaded some great reference footage from a higher viewpoint that helps set things in perspective.

Perhaps this was already mentioned, but isn't it obvious from Dr John's raw footage that at least 40m of cliff is hidden by the horizon, since the Beachy Head lighthouse can not be seen, which is over 40m tall?

Loki Thorson

New Member
According to Wikipedia, Beachy head rises to a highest point of 162 meters above sea level, but what do we classify sea level as?. Interestingly during that time period there could be as much as 8 meters difference between low and high tide. So given that the observation was taken at low tide, more of Beachy head was potentially visible. All quite in line with expectations.

Landru

Moderator
Staff member
According to Wikipedia, Beachy head rises to a highest point of 162 meters above sea level, but what do we classify sea level as?. Interestingly during that time period there could be as much as 8 meters difference between low and high tide. So given that the observation was taken at low tide, more of Beachy head was potentially visible. All quite in line with expectations.
That's not sea level.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_level

Loki Thorson

New Member
This makes it quite confusing as to what point to measure in these observations, it's likely a flat earth agenda would choose the worst case scenario for global conditions. However, it still leaves a begging question...where is the rest of the cliffs?

Rory

Senior Member.
This makes it quite confusing as to what point to measure in these observations.

Yup - though tide levels are generally not too difficult to find, and most often don't make a massive amount of difference (8m seems unusually extreme).

Loki Thorson

New Member
That would most likely be a spring tide, a spring tide has the most difference between high and low tide points, a neap tide has the least difference.

Bunkmeister

New Member
Please forgive me if this is not on topic, but I have a question about Dr John D's observations and laser tests. I was inspired by the story of Sir Alfred Russell Wallace and his brilliant idea with the wager with the flat earther in the 1800's. It made me think --- would an effective control for refraction be for him to add an object of a known height somewhere at or near the globe-predicted geometric horizon...a point in between the observer and target object?

Mick West

Staff member
Please forgive me if this is not on topic, but I have a question about Dr John D's observations and laser tests. I was inspired by the story of Sir Alfred Russell Wallace and his brilliant idea with the wager with the flat earther in the 1800's. It made me think --- would an effective control for refraction be for him to add an object of a known height somewhere at or near the globe-predicted geometric horizon...a point in between the observer and target object?

That's essentially what Wallace did. The simplest way of implementing the idea is, like Wallace, to have the camera, the target, and a midpoint target all at the same height above the water. The higher the better.

It doesn't "correct" for refraction, but it removes you from the worst of it.

Hepper

New Member
Mr West,

I was wondering
He has responded in usual style here:

His key error seems to be:

My image (bottom) is from his actual view location. His location is much closer because he has missed that I've zoomed in from the original location, whereas he has just moved the camera very close.

I sent him this, 2 days ago:

Along with the attached KMZ file. All he had to do was either A) recreate it from the info in the image above, or B) load the attached KMZ file, like:

This does not seem to be Dr. John's entire response. Did he update his criticisms? I'm asking because I recently found this video:

In which he says that you manipulated the camera height. Dr. John also argues that the small white spot (the cliff) cannot be taller than 65 metres. Time stamp: 9:31

jumboseafood

Member
Do you not understand it I read the thread But it didn't give me the answer I was look for.

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