Flat like a pancake or flat like yo momma's butt? You decide.
The earth is, without a shred of doubt, round. We know this now because we have actual photographs of it taken from space, but back before we were catapulting people into the ether, a round Earth was the only explanation for seasons, the 24-hour daylight cycle, and why the moon goes through phases.
The Earth is 1,000 percent not flat … but what if it, like … is?
That's exactly the question that Casper Planetarium's Flat Earth Society is posing with new math contest that challenges participants to prove the earth is, indeed, flatter than yo momma's ass. If you can can demonstrate it is, you'll win a cool $5,000 for your efforts … although that amount is a little low for disproving an indisputable fact, is it not? Whatever kid-genius can solve that long division problem deserves at least more than the price of a used Corolla, that's our official position. But then again, we're not sure the Flat Earth Society really has a lot of money to give …
For this challenge, people will have to use geometry, trigonometry and probably witchcraft to show the orientation of the sun, moon, and Earth during a lunar eclipse and a solar eclipse. The person will have to use only sun and moon angles to get time, orientation, direction, and distances to prove the true shape of the Earth.
Of course, Nicholas Copernicus and Galileo already proved that in the 16th and 14th centuries respectively, but … whatever. Seems like that $5,000 is really burning a hole in these Flat Earth people's pockets and they need to give it away for some reason.
Regardless of the insurmountable odds stacked against them, the contest is being hailed as a "fun way for students to challenge themselves." After all, there is some incredibly small chance someone could argue for terrestrial flatness by, as Casper Planetarium's Rob Kennedy says, "by photographing the sun at noon every single day for a year." Apparently, it makes a sort of figure-eight pattern in the sky, a phenomenon known as "analema." That, or you could "capture the retrograde motion of Mars."
… Sorry, we don't speak geek. All you need to know is that, somehow, someway, it's possible to use math to prove the Earth is flat and some kid might be able to do it. And that that same kid deserves like, at least a lifetime supply of Skittles in addition to that paltry prize money.
There's no deadline to participate in this challenge if you think you have what it takes. Also, if you want an opportunity to observe an eclipse, there will be a total solar eclipse in August 2017.
All said, there are worse ways to make $5,000 …