Saturday, 21 February 2009

A question answered

While on Holiday in Spain a few weeks ago, we were looking out to sea at a large ship on the horizon and the thought occurred to me - how far away is the horizon? Well, the answer has just been given by the excellent BBC TV series QI with Stephen Fry. (See HERE).It appears that the distance to the horizon (in miles) is approximately the square-root of 1.5 times the height (in feet) of your eyes. This all depends on you being somewhere entirely flat - like the sea. So, taking the picture above as a starting point, it was taken about 140ft above sea level making my eye 145.5ft above sea level. This would make the horizon in this picture approximately 14.7 miles away. If I had been standing on the shore when I'd taken the photo, my eye would have only been 5.5ft above sea level which would make the horizon only 2.8 miles away. So now we know. Fascinating!
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