Ok, thank you all for your input. I will attempt to clarify the question now based on the additional information I was able to garner from your comments.

I believe the math formula I am looking for is based on the physics of a torquing effect due to the change of a sattelites's center of mass, on that satellite's attitude (pitch axis) while the satellite in an otherwise satble circular orbit around a planet or body like this one we are on.

I will continue to refine this question as best I can, thank you for your patience.

I am a layman, I manage an apt complex/dorm full of college students. The front office is also where these kids get their mail and I interact with them on a regular basis. Some of these kids, smart kids too are totally sold on the earth being flat. I personally do not prescribe to this theory. But it's just amazing how many deflections there are to support this theory that are nigh impossible to prove or disprove.

For instance... The obvious curvature of the earth, observable by anyone on a commercial flight on a clear day. But, show a flat earther any images of the curved earth they will assume the images are from a fisheye lens.

Suffice it to say, if you have ever debated a flat-earther you will have heard this argument one and many more like it. Leaving the door open just enough for their beliefs to live on, by the slimmest margins of possiblilty.

Sure. Fine, fine. It's technically possible everyone's using fisheye lenses to distort the truly flat visage of our planet. Oh, and it's just our planet that's flat, not the moon or mars or any other celestial bodies. All of those objects in space, plainly visible from the flat plane of planet earth are in fact spherical. Just not this object we stand on. And the sattellites do not orbit this planet, instead there is a "procession" of sorts that enable just our sattellites to appear to be orbiting...

I believe this is the weakest most concretely disprovable point in their theory. Orbital mechanics, specifically satellites in orbit and their behavior. You can fish eye lens me all day, trick of the eye, yada yada yada. But, the math involving orbital mechanics just don't add up with flat earth. And, there is one aspect in particular of orbital mechanics, I believe should be observable from a telescope.

I know you guys hate questions of this nature, from folks who could otherwise do the work themselves and come to an answer themselves. But, I work all the time, I've spent a week trying to find the math to concretely support an observable phenomena of orbital mechanics. I just really want to reach these kids. Or, at least give them something so impossible to disprove in favor of the flat earth theory it re opens their minds to the possibility of a spherical earth. (Never thought I'd write that last sentence.) I feel a need to reach these kids and I would be remiss if I did not attempt to gain your assistance dear reader.

I am a life long learner, and in my constant hoovering of available knowledge. I came across a phenomena of objects in orbit I will explain in layman's terms now. Assuming an object is in a stable orbit (regardless of type of orbit), in stable gravity, around a perfect sphere. When the center of gravity of this object in orbit is raised or lowered against the vertical axis of the orbital plane. It causes the object to pitch up or down in correlation. I am not an astronomer or a physicist, and even though I do not understand at all how this occurs. Only that I believe I remember this does occur and that there should be an elegant mathematical formula to prove this. Embarrassingly, I could not even tell you which way changing the center of gravity of an object in orbit against the vertical axis of the orbital plane pitches the object. I could be mistaken about all this, speaking of embarrassment. And having found nothing after a week of searching would support this, but I really want to know. No cost of embarrassment barred.

I want to use this information to dispel the flat earth "orbital precession" non sense. I believe it will be something the supporters of flat earth will be unable to dismiss out of hand. There will be no easy excuse or simple way to explain this behavior of orbital objects away. No entry in the Flat Earth FAQ in their groups to divert away from the numbers. Because there will be no elegant mathematical formula to explain a phenomena like the one described in the previous paragraph regarding objects in an "orbital procession" around a supposedly flat earth. Also, it would be something one could observe through a telescope when a rocket launches a payload or similar maneuver. The control thrusters firing to correct the pitch at the very least.

I'm hoping that this angle will work. Even when admittedly their own flat earth messiahs have disproved their own theory with a laser gyroscope showing the rotation of the earth. They can wriggle out of that somehow. But math is inescapable. And it's easy to say "Oh, 'they' just put fish eye lenses in all the cameras" But, if the earth is flat? Why are these conspirators also configuring all their space craft and satellites to function in orbit of spheres? For the last 80 or so years too. That's quite the long expensive con.

Anyways, this is obviously important to me. Quite a helpless feeling I am left with at this point. Brings me back to this quote.

“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” -- Voltaire

Hopefully I can use your distilled and refined enlightenment to shine on this flat earth absurdity.

Thank you for reading.

  • $\begingroup$ Could you replace all of that with an actual question? This is a Q&A site. $\endgroup$ Feb 2 at 22:09
  • $\begingroup$ "I'm hoping that this angle will work." It won't. You can rationalize anything away if given sufficient motivation. No single piece of data can ever be sufficient. But patience and trust can sometimes work.... $\endgroup$
    – BowlOfRed
    Feb 2 at 22:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "When the center of gravity of this object in orbit is raised or lowered against the vertical axis of the orbital plane. It causes the object to pitch up or down in correllation." The way this is written is open to interpretation, but my take on it is that the statement is incorrect. Perhaps it's a garbled memory of gravity gradient stabilization, which you can read about here space.stackexchange.com/q/34276/6944 $\endgroup$ Feb 2 at 22:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You should really check this out to bust the flat Earth theory m.youtube.com/watch?v=_bHqBy92iGM After you show them that give them a few challenges with this video m.youtube.com/watch?v=AQl8h7Aa75s. I don’t think that you can change their minds with orbital mechanics alone, but these 2 videos will definitely help out. $\endgroup$ Feb 3 at 6:17
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I think the first six paragraphs could be replaced with "I'm trying to convince a bunch of flat-earthers that the Earth is a sphere". Also, as has been mentioned, they won't be convinced because their belief is irrational, non-empirical and they will discount all evidence against it. $\endgroup$ Feb 3 at 12:35


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