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"Cosmos" host and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson recently shot down the ideas of anyone who still thinks the Earth is flat. In a new YouTube video on the scientist's StarTalk channel, he used examples ranging from space observations to ancient Greek experiments in a conversation with stand-up comedian Chuck Nice.
"So, tell me, Neil, is the Earth flat?" Nice said to open the conversation.
Satisfied - Nice - Episode - Things - Co-hosts
Satisfied, Nice joked, "Thank you for joining us on this episode," and pretended to wrap things up. But the co-hosts continued their conversation in a 9-minute video that is based on a chapter in Tyson's new book, "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry" (W.W. Norton, 2017).
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson wants everyone to know that the world is round.
Tyson - People - Earth - Moon - Mercury
"What's odd," Tyson continued, "is there are people who think that Earth is flat but recognize that the moon is round. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and the sun are all spheres. But Earth is flat ... something doesn't square here."
Tyson explained that because of the laws of physics and the way energy works, the universe "favors the sphere" when forming planets and other bodies. Sometimes, a sphere might be distorted because it's rotating very fast. But almost everything in the universe, he added, is spherical or almost spherical.
Tyson - Asteroids - Bodies - Ice - Rock
Tyson did not address asteroids, which are small bodies of ice and rock and are irregularly shaped. It is widely recognized, however, that these asteroids have a gravity too low to pull their mass into a sphere. Worlds orbiting the sun that do have spherical bodies are sometimes called planets, but only if they meet certain criteria set by the International Astronomical Union.
In the example of Pluto — once considered a planet — the IAU ruled in 2006 that the body is not big enough to clear debris from its path...
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