ISS cosmonaut delivers space photography lesson for flat-Earthers

Russia's Ivan Vagner has had enough with the Twitter comments, people.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
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Cosmonaut Ivan Vagner snapped this view of Angel Falls from the ISS with a 1600mm zoom. 

Ivan Vagner/Roscosmos

Ivan Vagner of Roscosmos has been orbiting Earth on the International Space Station for months now. He's shared tons of photos of Earth landmarks through social media, and it seems he would like flat-Earth believers to do some rethinking.

Vagner posted a space photography lesson on Twitter and Instagram on Wednesday. "Occasionally, I see comments saying that the photos here have been taken from an aircraft, while flat-Earthers doubt that they have been taken from space," he tweeted.

"As far back as the beginning of my flight, I wrote that I take photos using a 1600 mm lens, that's why the objects look so big," Vagner wrote.

Flat-Earthers believe our planet is shaped more like a pancake and not a sphere, which doesn't sit well with the idea that the ISS is up in space and traveling around our globe. That's why flat-Earthers suggest the lovingly detailed photos Vagner shares are taken from an aircraft and passed off as being from space.

Vagner expanded on the concept of focal length through a post on Instagram showing three views of Angel Falls in Venezuela. The scenic waterfall has been a much-sought-after target for the cosmonaut, who got lucky with the cloud cover and managed to capture it. 

The images were snapped at 80 mm, 500 mm and 1600 mm focal lengths, which gives a progression of increasingly closer views until Angel Falls takes center stage through the magic of zoom. "Hope there will be no more questions," Vagner wrote on Instagram.

Vagner's lens lesson may not change anyone's mind, but it's a solid reminder of the fantastic photography equipment the cosmonauts and astronauts have available on the ISS. It gives all of us down here on Earth a different and valuable perspective on our round world.

Meanwhile, NASA is celebrating 20 years aboard the ISS. Here are some of the best space station photos taken during nearly two decades of crewed orbit.