Space and Physics

This Is What Flat-Earthers Think Happens During A Lunar Eclipse


Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

clockJan 21 2019, 17:28 UTC

Elena Schweitzer/Shutterstock

The Flat Earth hypothesis is one of the wackiest conspiracy theories out there, but seeing flat-Earthers come up with nonsense explanations is such Olympic-level mental gymnastics that you can’t help being entertained by their work. My favorite lately has to be their explanation of lunar eclipses.


In the real world of facts, lunar eclipses are caused by the Moon passing through the shadow cast by the Earth. During totality, the Moon becomes reddish in color due to the light from the Sun filtering through the atmosphere before reaching the Moon.

Obviously, this wouldn’t work in the fantasy land that is Flat Earth. The Sun and the Moon float above the pizza-thin planet so there is no possibility that eclipses could be caused by the alignment of Earth, the Sun, and the Moon. The cause of the eclipse is (cue dramatic music and flickering candles): the Shadow Object!

The Shadow Object is a satellite of the Sun that orbits too close to our star to be seen but can get in between the Earth and the Moon roughly twice a year. I’ve got to say this is some 'galaxy brain'-level thinking. What if we actually had an object made of shadows that only mattered when we needed it to? I really want to believe that all flat-Earthers are part of a performance art piece because the Shadow Object is truly a masterpiece.

According to a post by the Flat Earth Society, the Shadow Object is orbiting the Sun at an angle of 5°10’. If you’re wondering where that number comes from, that’s the angle between the orbital plane of the Earth and the orbital plane of the Moon. I feel that if flat-Earthers want to just copy scientists' work they should at least try to make it look a bit different.


There is no description of what the Shadow Object actually is or how it can block the Moon's light without blocking the light of stars behind the Moon. The flat-Earthers have this to say regarding its potential nature: “There is also a possibility that the Shadow Object is a known celestial body which orbits the sun; but more study would be needed to track the positions of Mercury, Venus and the sun's asteroid satellites and correlate them with the equations for the lunar eclipse before any conclusion could be drawn.”

We know the positions of Venus and Mercury so well that we can predict their future movements. Mercury will transit across the Sun on November 11, 2019, for example. The next transit of Venus will be in December 2117. And if either planet was between the Earth and the Moon, we’d be very much in trouble.

Space and Physics
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  • eclipse,

  • lunar eclipse,

  • flat earth,

  • Flat Earthers