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I See No More Ships (Posted on 2006-01-29) Difficulty: 4 of 5
For an observer at height h above the surface of the Earth,

i) What area, A, of the Earth's surface is visible?
ii) At what altitude, h, does the curvature of the Earth become apparent?

You may assume one can detect, with the human eye, an angle of one degree between the two ends of a line (i.e. two tangents at either end of the visible horizon, appear to intersect at an angle of one degree), that the average human field of view is 180°, also that the Earth is a sphere of radius 6378 km, or you may provide your own figures for the calculations.

No Solution Yet Submitted by Sir Percivale    
Rating: 4.5000 (2 votes)

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Some Thoughts re: discussion | Comment 3 of 5 |
(In reply to discussion by Charlie)

I agree with Charlie on the discussion on apparent curvature of the earth.

My take is that the curvature would always be apparent in a perfect world. However, terrain and a non-uniform surface create enough restriction to sight that it is not apparent close to the ground.

Additionally, on the best weather days, visibility through the atmosphere is still limited to about 70 milesm hindering us land dwelling creatures.

I think that it requires moving above the majority of the atmosphere and weather to see the curvature. I estimate 4 to 5 km in altitude.

  Posted by Leming on 2006-01-29 17:36:51
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