Yes, flat earthers actually believe that Triangulating Crepuscular Rays can measure the distance to the sun, and that it indicates the sun is ‘close and local’, a mantra they love to repeat over and over again. I hate to have to keep saying this, but yes, there are more and more people that are deciding to reject thousands of years of science and wholeheartedly accept that the earth is flat because they watched a few YouTube videos. I go over this on my article Flat Earth Resurgence and Easy Disproofs of a Flat Earth.

Also, as I pointed out on that page, in order to support their belief system, each time a new flaw in their design is pointed out, they attempt to ‘fix’ this flaw with a new ad hoc design add-on that ends up making their idea (it can’t rightly be called a hypothesis or a theory) look more like a Rube Goldberg machine than a scientific theory. In fact, their entire model is so ad-hoc that The Flat Earth Map is Actually a Globe! Yes, their idea is so makeshift that in thousands of years of flat earth thinking, the best map the best minds have been able to come up with is a map of a theory that they REJECT!

They Say the Sun is Closer to the Earth Than We Believe

Since the sun needed to be accounted for, as well as some of the pesky observable realities that they accept (they actually reject or ignore a surprising number of observable realities), such as:

  1. Day and night
  2. 24 hour days in a northern hemisphere summer
  3. Seasons
  4. Time zones

flat earthers added on the idea that the sun is MUCH closer and smaller than everyone has been ‘brainwashed’ (one of their favorite words) to believe and that Triangulating Crepuscular Rays is one way we know the sun is much closer than we have been told. They believe the sun isn’t a spinning ball at the center of the solar system, however, but is embedded in the top of a rotating dome, somewhere between 3000-5000 miles circling over us.

Adherents of flat earth ideas don’t seem to agree on the shape or size of the sun, exactly how it should move, or even its distance from the earth, but one thing they do seem to agree on is that the sun is much much closer than ‘ball earthers’ believe. One of the pieces of evidence they cite on this topic is the existence of crepuscular rays, also known as sunbeams.

However, triangulating crepuscular rays to prove the sun is any particular distance to the earth just shows, again, their basic lack of science, math and reason, as I’ve pointed out and will continue to point out in this Refuting Flat Earth Memes series.

What are Crepuscular Rays

Crepuscular rays are something nearly everyone has seen. When the sun is low in the sky and there are beautiful ‘rays’ of sunbeams coming down through the clouds that often form a fan-like pattern, those are crepuscular rays.

Crepscular rays are formed when water molecules, dust, and other particles in the air ‘scatter’ the sunlight that is filtered through the clouds. But flat earthers don’t just see beautiful sunbeams when they see crepuscular rays, they see the sun closer to earth than we have been taught. As you will see, this is utter nonsense based on a sheer lack of understanding of basic science and a lack of ability or willingness to do just a few minutes of doing anything other than watching YouTube videos that confirm their bias.

Here’s one of the many memes you’ll see online that flat earthers post.

crepuscular rays flat earth.jpg

It’s Impossible to Measure Distance by Triangulating Crepuscular Rays

The irony is that they are the ones who fail geometry with this meme. Unfortunately, because flat earthers truly believe they are smarter than 99% of people on the planet, that to ever recant from their belief system would require them to admit that they are dumber than 99% of the people on the planet, and so that is unlikely to ever happen.

What flat earthers do not understand is that crepuscular rays are actually parallel lines that merely SEEM as though they converge to a point just above the clouds, and they try to use geometry to ‘prove’ that the sun is close. While it’s a very alluring idea that these sun rays converge just above the clouds because it can seem that way, the reality is that the rays looking as though they fan out from a central point is just an optical illusion like this plowed field in the image below (note the crepuscular sunbeams in the image as well!).

crepuscular rays 2 tree.jpg

Obviously the plowed lines do not ‘converge’ at the tree… because they are parallel. And the lines might go on for miles, or they might end right there at the tree. There is no way to tell and it’s impossible to determine distance to anything by triangulating crepuscular rays, any more than one can judge distance to a train station from looking for where train tracks converge in the distance.

Crepuscular Rays Show Up In Places Where it’s Impossible for the Sun to Be Overhead

Talking about distance again, you can see that this image appears to show the crepuscular rays converge where the sun seems to be. That would make the sun DIRECTLY overhead about 1 mile or less out to sea in this particular image.


However, the image just above was taken in Norway, and the sun is never directly overhead in Norway because the furthest northern latitude the sun ever reaches is the Tropic of Cancer, and there is no where in Norway that is on or below the Tropic of Cancer. Therefore that this image APPEARS to have the sun directly overhead is simply an illusion of perspective. The science of perspective is something that the flat earth community just seems to be unable to understand, and they get it wrong every time.

This image was found on Wikimedia Commons by Resk – Kristian H Resset, Norway – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, so there is no way that I can be lying about the place it was taken. You can check for yourself on Wikimedia to see if this image is legitimate or not. There are thousands of similar pictures on the internet from places that the sun cannot possibly be overhead. It’s something that you can easily test for yourself simply by going on a vacation.

Consistently Triangulating Crepuscular Rays Gets Hilarious Results

This Image of Crepscular Rays (actually they are Anti-Crepuscular Rays) makes it seem that the sun is even below the top of Mount Aka, Japan which has an elevation of just under 10,000 feet.

crepuscular rays 4.JPG

And this image of Anticrepscular rays could be used to prove the earth is round, if you didn’t understand what they were, because the rays obviously converge below the horizon line and below the curvature of the earth! But since you can’t prove distance to the light source from crepuscular ray convergence, such a conclusion is obviously false.

Anticrepuscular_rays 2.jpg

This next image of crepuscular rays would put the sun at an elevation of just a few HUNDRED feet, not even as high as the trees they are filtering through!

crepuscular rays 5.jpg

This image of crepuscular rays would put the sun just over the top entrance of this cave!

crepuscluar rays 6.jpg


Triangulating Crepuscular Rays Has Been Debunked Many Times

There are MANY MANY other reasons why we know that crepuscular rays are simply parallel rays of light coming from a light source, and these reasons have been gone over many times in multiple good videos that patiently explain the science behind these rays and who do the math that I’ve not done on this page.

This video used auto-cad (something flat earthers don’t seem to have any access to) to show a model of how sunbeams coming from thousands of miles away would form the exact patterns of crepuscular rays we see on earth.

Even some flat earthers understand that triangulating crepuscular rays do not indicate distance to the sun, and this flat eather does a video debunking this unscientific idea.

 If you use the Pythagorean theorem to measure crepuscular rays, you’re going to have a bad time explaining the results, and you’d have to argue that the sun is variously at radically different heights on different days in different parts of the world, sometimes as low as a few hundred feet, sometimes even below the curvature of the earth, and sometimes directly overhead where it simply can’t be directly overhead.

There is absolutely no reason to believe that crepuscular rays can tell us ANYTHING about the distance to the light source that is creating them. So, flat earthers, please stop using this ridiculous argument to make the case for anything except that you are too lazy or too unwilling to do any actual research on scientific concepts yourself.