Asked by: Junaid Levann
science space and astronomy

How many miles can you see before the earth curves?

Last Updated: 20th February, 2020

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The old saying turns out to be just about true. Forasix-foot tall person, the horizon is a little more than3miles (5 km) away. Geometry tells us that the distance ofthehorizon – i.e. the farthest point the eye can seebeforeEarth curves out beneath our view – depends simply ontheheight of the observer.

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Consequently, can you see the Earth's curvature?

It is possible to see the effect ofthecurvature of the earth from sea level(shipsdisappearing over the horizon). To actually seethecurvature directly (ie to be able to see thehorizonas an arc, rather than a straight line) requires an altitudeofover 50,000 feet.

Subsequently, question is, how many miles can you see out to sea? Boat captains say, on average, you can seeshipson the horizon or land at about 12 miles. A roughformula athttp://science.howstuffworks.com Examples: For anobserver standingon the ground with h = 1.70 metres (5 ft 7 in)(average eye-levelheight), the horizon is at a distance of 4.7kilometres (2.9mi).

Secondly, how much does the earth curve in 6 miles?

However, it turns out that while the earthdoescurve 8 inches in one mile, it does not take9miles to curve 72 inches. To show this, let usreturnto the Pythagorean Theorem method used by Harley, butusing6 feet for the curvature.

How much does the earth curve in 1 mile?

The Earth has a radius of approximately3965miles. Using the Pythagorean theorem, that calculates toanaverage curvature of 7.98 inches per mileorapproximately 8 inches per mile (squared).

Related Question Answers

Huria Hermecke

Professional

At what height is Earth's curvature visible?

It's hard to see the curvature of theearthfrom an altitude of 7 miles or 37,000 ft(typical cruisingaltitude of a jetliner) but easy to seefrom 250 miles(typical altitude of the ISS). The line ofsight from anaircraft at 37,000 feet = 235 miles. That's onlyabout 3.4 degreesof the earth's surface.

Sounia Bora

Professional

How high is space?

In the US, "space" begins at 80.4km (50 miles),or264,000 feet. General international consensus sets a similarlimitfor the start of space as 100km (62 miles), or 380,000feet."Low Earth Orbit" (LEO), where many satellites live, goesfrom 160km(100 miles, 525,000 feet) to 2,000km (1,240 miles, 6.5millionfeet).

Crecencio Hans

Professional

How far can you see at 30000 feet?

So, at 10,000 feet you can see 122 miles,at30,000 feet you can see 211 miles, and at 40,000 feetyoucan see 244 miles. Of course, if you look "above"thehorizon, you can see the sun at 93,000,000 miles andatnight, even further, to the stars.

Hermandina Venderbosch

Explainer

Can you see curvature from Everest?

But the curvature they show is not that oftheEarth. Earth's curvature can't be visually seen fromanylocation on the ground, even from Mount Everest.Studiesshow that the threshold altitude for seeingthecurvature is about 35,000 ft (10,668 m).

Manjinder Awik

Explainer

How far away is the horizon at sea level?

For an observer standing on the ground with h =1.70metres (5 ft 7 in), the horizon is at a distanceof4.7 kilometres (2.9 mi).

Gwendoline Oschwald

Explainer

Mateu Bajaev

Pundit

Can stars be seen in space?

Fast exposure times means they can getgoodpictures of the bright Earth or lunar surface, but it alsomeans nostars in the picture. Even in space,stars arerelatively dim, and simply don't produce enoughlight to show up inphotos set for bright sunlight.

Zora Missiakos

Pundit

How far can you see with the naked eye?

As a result, on a flat surface with your eyes5feet or so off the ground, the farthest edge that youcansee is about 3 miles away.

Munir Mitul

Pundit

How do you measure curvature?

To measure the curvature at a pointyouhave to find the circle of best fit at that point. This iscalledthe osculating (kissing) circle. The curvature of thecurveat that point is defined to be the reciprocal of the radius oftheosculating circle.

Igone Jungklas

Pundit

Mariella Frazoo

Pundit

What is the curve of the earth called?

Hypsometric curve, also calledHypsographicCurve, cumulative height frequency curvefor theEarth's surface or some part thereof.

Hristian Serapio

Teacher

How do you calculate the radius of the earth?

Compute the radius of theearthusing the formula C (circumference) = 2 x pi xr(radius). Erastosthenes' formula would looklikethis: 39,350 = 2 x 3.14 x r, or 6,267 kilometers.

Lubomir Barrie

Teacher

What is the arc of the earth?

Thus the circumference at the equator is2*pi*r=24900miles. The length of an arc on a circle ismeasured by thesize of the angle at the center of the circle. Hencethere are 360degrees of arc for the entire circumference of24900 milesor 360/24900=0.0145 degrees of arc permile.

Asima Heiligenthal

Teacher

How far can you see a lighthouse?

Thus a lighthouse light 130 feet above sealevelwould be visible to this viewer at a distance of20.2miles.

Ignasia Ciss

Teacher

How is line of sight measured?

You can use the measure distance tool and the line drawtoolto check line of sight between 2 points on GoogleEarth.
  1. Use the ruler tool to measure the distance between thetwopoints.
  2. The ruler tool will show you the distance and theazimuthbetween the two points.
  3. Click 'Save' on the ruler tool.

Osama Lawler

Reviewer

What is the formula for curvature of the earth?

Using the theorem of Pythagoras a2=39632 + 12 = 15705370 and thus a=3963.000126 miles. Thus your position is 3963.000126 - 3963=0.000126 miles above the surface of the earth.0.000126miles = 12*5280*0.000126 = 7.98 inches. Hence theearth'ssurface curves approximately 8 inches in onemile.

Ao Dinda

Reviewer

How far is the horizon at 300?

Height Above Sea Level in feet Distance to horizon in nautical miles
300 19.8
500 25.6
1000 36.2
1500 44.3

Reinier Huggins

Reviewer

How far can you see at 1000 feet?

Tabel: Distance to Horizon (height in feet and distanceinstatute miles)
Height [feet] Distance Horizon [miles]
1000 38,7
2000 54,8
3000 67,1
4000 77,5

Dorotea Casarrubio

Reviewer

How far can you see on Earth?

The old saying turns out to be just about true. Forasix-foot tall person, the horizon is a little more than 3 miles(5km) away. Geometry tells us that the distance of thehorizon– i.e. the farthest point the eye can seebeforeEarth curves out beneath our view – dependssimply onthe height of the observer.