Can't see my nose in front of my face
November 4, 2019 3:28 AM   Subscribe

 
That's neat, and also relevant to my interests.
posted by mumimor at 3:47 AM on November 4


Tangentially: What is the longest sightline from Earth?
posted by fairmettle at 4:06 AM on November 4


Huh. File under: things I did not know I wanted to know but definitely did.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:06 AM on November 4 [12 favorites]


Okay, it seems he limited the discussion to one thing attached to earth to another thing attached to earth. Since you are looking through the air, I would think that being in the air would be fair game: in an airplane, or seeing something that is in the air, like an aurora borealis.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:45 AM on November 4 [1 favorite]


I have to wonder if sightlines from the top of the KVLY Tower wouldn't compete with that or top it, but that's just me griping and getting curious. This is super cool.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:58 AM on November 4 [1 favorite]


Why does that website disable right-click?
posted by timdiggerm at 5:01 AM on November 4 [2 favorites]


I vaguely remember reading about how the line of sight from the Spanish Pyrenees to the French Alps was discovered, some guy took a photograph and was trying to identify all the bumps on the horizon in it. But of course I can't find the story.

Not only do you need 20/20 vision to see from Pic de Finestrelles in the Spanish Pyrenees to Pic Gaspard in the French Alps but also to read that pale gray text! Fortunately Firefox has reader view built in now.
posted by Bee'sWing at 5:07 AM on November 4 [4 favorites]


Came to make the same comment. Pale grey text on white background?? My eyes are fine, but it’s hard to read. I’d expect better from a vision center.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:15 AM on November 4 [11 favorites]


Someone here said it is the default for some reason in a template for making a webpage.
posted by Bee'sWing at 5:21 AM on November 4


Last month I was at Alexandra Palace, probably the highest point in north London (the BBC had one of its first TV broadcast masts there, in 1936) when I was approached by a person in a state of confusion. "Over there," she said, gesturing towards the south east, "past Saint Pauls... is that the Eiffel Tower?"

I had to tell her that it was one of the BBC's other masts, at Crystal Palace in south London, but still a decent thirteen miles away.
posted by Hogshead at 5:38 AM on November 4 [10 favorites]


It's a squarespace template. I suspect the whole thing looks better on mobile. Because the Internet is *dying*.
posted by DigDoug at 5:43 AM on November 4 [2 favorites]


Disabling right click is a way to tell your client that their precious copyright images are safe from illegal downloading.

It's not true. But it seems true.

Admittedly, having the harder conversation of "that's not how the internet works" and "no one cares about your dumb pictures of eyeglasses" is a non starter when you need to crank out another 3 microsites to make rent.
posted by jonnay at 5:48 AM on November 4 [4 favorites]


Calculating the distance to the horizon while driving is only distracted driving if you are using pen and paper for the math.

Oh Dr Burke.
posted by thecjm at 6:17 AM on November 4


Next, the follow-up: “What is the longest (potential) zip line on Earth?”

When I noticed the Canadian prairies focus to the piece, a lot became clear: it gets you to thinking about the scope of the vistas. As I recall, looking west from Calgary, the view is dominated by the Rockies, which begin to rise some 50 km away and reach their grander heights at a range of more like 100 km; looking east on a clear day from a decently tall building, I reckon spotting Strathmore AB would be easy enough; it is likewise about fifty klicks.

The prairies can mess with your perception; people from elsewhere speak of their error in looking at a building they assume to be ten minutes’ walk away and discovering it is more like forty-five minutes on foot. I recall well my first trip there, waiting for a delayed VIA train (because VIA) in Brandon MB. The train was running a full five hours behind schedule, it was travelling steadily toward me, and I could see it the whole time.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:19 AM on November 4 [15 favorites]


Here is the original record-breaking image, by photographer Marc Bret. Note the flat-earthers in the comments.
posted by elgilito at 6:25 AM on November 4 [7 favorites]


This kind of theorizing is a case where I'd really like to see their work; for one thing are they measuring relative elevation or absolute / sea level? Gouges in the earth like the Grand Canyon seem like they could play into the conversation. Were mountainous equatorial countries even included in the dataset?

Is optometrist Robert Burke really qualified to weigh in on such matters at all?
posted by aspersioncast at 6:40 AM on November 4


I'd also be quite curious if the Sierra Nevada range is visible from any point in Utah.
posted by aspersioncast at 6:41 AM on November 4 [1 favorite]


The prairies can mess with your perception; people from elsewhere speak of their error in looking at a building they assume to be ten minutes’ walk away and discovering it is more like forty-five minutes on foot.

We used to drive from BC to Regina every couple of years to see my aunt and uncle, and after two days in the car, we were all understandably impatient to get where we were going. It is very, very frustrating how long you can *see* Regina, before you arrive in Regina -- especially if you arrive late at night, when you can see the city lights for well over an hour before you get to them.


I recall well my first trip there, waiting for a delayed VIA train (because VIA) in Brandon MB. The train was running a full five hours behind schedule, it was travelling steadily toward me, and I could see it the whole time.

That's often true in Toronto, too, but it's just because endless construction at Union Station means sometimes it takes the train five hours to get there from the DVP.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:54 AM on November 4 [5 favorites]


I worked on one of the higher southwest-facing floors of 2 St Clair Ave West in Toronto. Apart from catching all of the sun, on a clear crisp day and using binoculars, I could just make out operating wind turbines close to Jarvis, about 100 km away. The Skylon tower in Niagara Falls was an easier find (just look for the plume!) as was the stack at Kintigh coal plant near Somerset, NY.

Some of the amateur radio line of sight communication distance records are quite impressive:posted by scruss at 7:36 AM on November 4 [2 favorites]


Pikes Peak from Grand Teton. Mt. Whitney Ca., or Kings Peak Ut., from Baboquivari southeast of Tucson. Anyway, it is cool to see the Tetons up north, flying into SLC at clean air times.
posted by Oyéah at 7:37 AM on November 4


Longest distance I've seen (that I can prove) is from Grand Mesa in Colorado. Camping out at 10,500', I took my camera up to a prominent point and realized that, way down south, I could make out Mt. Sneffels, in the San Juans, 75 miles away!

(On closer inspection of that photo - but not visible to the naked eye - I see that Mt Wilson is in the background. So, 83 miles!)
posted by notsnot at 7:45 AM on November 4 [2 favorites]


Reminds me, in spirit, of this old AskMe question.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:05 AM on November 4


elgilito: "Note the flat-earthers in the comments."

Where? I can't see them! For some reason as I scroll down they curve away and out of sight.
posted by chavenet at 8:24 AM on November 4 [15 favorites]


From Mt. Monadnock in southern NH, you can see Mount Washington up north on a good day, which is about 108 miles (174km). More impressive, to me, is that looking south from Monadnock, on a clear day you can see the skyline of Boston (64 miles/103 km) in eastern Massachusetts, as well as Mt Greylock (57 mi/92 km), and points in Connecticut. Which means that you're sitting up there looking at nearly the entire state of Massachusetts, except for Cape Cod.

So as a collateral question to the longest sightline, there's the question of what is the largest area visible from a particular point on earth. A good candidate might be the top of Kilmanjaro, since it is regarded as the "highest free-standing mountain" in the world, at 19,341 ft (5,895 m). The theoretical horizon from that height is 170.4 miles, which yields an area of 22,804 square miles.
posted by beagle at 8:26 AM on November 4 [6 favorites]


Tangentially:...

Am I the only one who saw what you did there?
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 8:28 AM on November 4 [5 favorites]


 I suspect the whole thing looks better on mobile. 

I assure you it does not.

However, I'm not going to judge. When I first started teaching I used powerpoint slides with light grey text on a dark grey patterned background. Not readable from 400km away. It looked great on my laptop though. Universities should really teach new lecturers how to lecture before they let them lecture.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:38 AM on November 4 [2 favorites]


Hard to believe you cant see more than 300 odd miles from the top of everest.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:09 AM on November 4


Hard to believe you cant see more than 300 odd miles from the top of everest.

In theory, if nothing were in the way, you can see a horizon at 208.8 miles from a height of 29,029 feet, the summit of Everest. But the horizon up there is completely obscured by other mountains (see 360 degree view here). So anything you can see from there is less than 208.8 miles away.
posted by beagle at 9:42 AM on November 4 [1 favorite]


There are some extreme candidates I could imagine being possible if a thermal inversion creates a superior mirage, which was definitely a factor in that view of the Alps from the Pyrenees.

The sightline across the Alaskan interior between the Brooks Range and the Alaska Range: Mount Igikpak in the Brooks Range is 2523 m (8276 ft) and Denali is 6190 m (20,310 ft). The two peaks are about 517 km (321 mi) apart. My math says the combined 'potential horizons' for them should be about 464 km (288 mi) though, so it might be a stretch to see one from the other.

What seems likelier are a number of possible sightlines across the Taklamakan Desert in western China between the mountain ranges surrounding it: the Kunlun Shan to the south, the Pamirs to the west, and the Tian Shan to the north. For example, Jengish Chokusu on the Kyrgyzstan-China border stands 7439 m (24,406 ft) and Sanju Daban to the SSE is 6248 m (20,498 ft). They're about 615 km apart and their combined 'potential horizons' are 595 km, so with some atmospheric refraction it just might happen. And the distance between Jengish Chokusu and Kongur Tagh (7649 m) in the Pamirs is only about 560 km, well within their combined potential horizons of 625 km. So, in theory, this could work.

None of this takes into account intervening topography (like other peaks and foothills), and you might need the help of some extreme refraction, but I'd love to see it.
posted by theory at 9:59 AM on November 4


I remember visiting a mountain in Japan where at the top there was a viewing platform and a plaque showing other landmarks that could be seen in the distance from there (or at least where they'd be located). It was all extremely theoretical though because at the time I could barely see more than a couple of metres in front of me due to all of the fog.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 10:12 AM on November 4 [1 favorite]


It's no record-breaker, but the article got me thinking... There's a spot on the eastern flank of the hills NW of Portland (~400' elevation) where on a clear day I can see the peak of Mt Rainier*, which Google Maps tells me is about 100 straight-line miles away. Which is kinda neat.

*And those of St Helens, Adams, Hood, and Jefferson, which is also pretty neat.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:31 AM on November 4 [2 favorites]


The weather in the PNW is so foggy (or smoky) that you are constantly surprised by views of a volcano or volcanos. Even people that have lived there for years.
posted by Bee'sWing at 10:53 AM on November 4 [2 favorites]


So as a collateral question to the longest sightline, there's the question of what is the largest area visible from a particular point on earth

and related to that, the concept of topographic prominence
posted by exogenous at 10:59 AM on November 4 [1 favorite]


> Disabling right click is a way to tell your client that their precious copyright images are safe from illegal downloading.

The precious copyright images the site owner swiped uncredited from elsewhere.
posted by at by at 11:07 AM on November 4 [3 favorites]


Oh this is fun. I got a better one: what's the farthest possible distance between 2 points on Earth? (Earth is ~8000 miles across) No, it's not 8000 miles...it's ~186 million miles. Just stand in one place and wait 6 months for the Earth to go around to the other side of the sun. A fun thing you can do while waiting is look at stars...did any of them move in relation to distant background galaxies? Then you can use triangulation to figure out how far away they are. A star that moves one second of arc (60 sec=1 minute, 60 minutes=1 degree) in that six months is ~3.26 light years away. You've heard of this before...it's called a parsec (ie: Per ARc SECond). Here's how big space is: there aren't any stars that close to us. (The nearest is approx 4 ly away)
posted by sexyrobot at 11:34 AM on November 4 [4 favorites]


Or, How to Plan the Locations for Your Lord-of-the-Rings-Style Signal Flares.
posted by clawsoon at 1:14 PM on November 4 [2 favorites]


I just wanted to marvel that I got to see something from my neck of the woods on the blue today and that made me happy.

It is pretty remarkable how close to the surface we live our lives when you think of it. We can only see a couple hundred miles in any one direction in the best possible conditions. We live pretty small visual lives if we don't get on a plane. Interesting stuff.
posted by Phreesh at 1:14 PM on November 4


The weather in the PNW is so foggy (or smoky) that you are constantly surprised by views of a volcano or volcanos. Even people that have lived there for years.

On a very clear day, Mt. Adams is visible from my Seattle neighborhood, 98 miles away, thanks to line of sight through a river valley just off of Rainier’s west flank. This was quite a surprise when I discovered it.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:37 PM on November 4 [4 favorites]


thats pretty cool
posted by winterjim at 2:36 PM on November 4


The flatearther in the comments:
J Tolan Media 1, an engineer, has actually taken much longer distance photos than this. He has documentation of all of the elevation and distance angles. He has taken photos of the Rockies and Lake Huron from 1,000 miles away, impossible on a globe, with infrared high res zoom cameras.
...I notice he doesn't give a link to the photos he claims exist.

I looked. There are no photos. There are vids. It's fascinating how little text is available in support of the "flat earth" theories - they seem to be all about the videos, no interest in even blog posts to convince each other how right they are. Maybe they hang out on Discord.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 2:55 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


I feel like living in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand is like playing this game on easy mode.

From the south coast you can regularly see Tapuae-O-Ueneku, head of the Inland Kaikoura Range. That's 110 km away.

I have once seen Ruapehu from Pukerua Bay. That's 200 km, although it did require clear air after a storm and dawn sun hitting the snow on the peak of the volcano to really make it stand out from the dark ground.
posted by happyinmotion at 5:06 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


As a kid in Kansas, we'd guesstimate distances from yard lights on farms near the highway. A guess of three miles would invariably turn out to be ten or twelve, especially if it was cold out.

I wish I had used that time for more dark sky stargazing, but we never realized they were going to become invisible in our lifetimes.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 2:18 AM on November 5


Some of the amateur radio line of sight communication distance records are quite impressive: 278 km / 173 mi by laser

I just now learned of Light Commands: "By shining the laser through the window at microphones inside smart speakers, tablets, or phones, a far away attacker can remotely send inaudible and potentially invisible commands which are then acted upon by Alexa, Portal, Google assistant or Siri. ... in addition to sound, microphones also react to light aimed directly at them."
posted by exogenous at 7:11 AM on November 5 [1 favorite]


It was fun to visit Crater Lake and get a view back to Mount Shasta, which I had visited the day before. It's only 110 miles, but still cool.
posted by tavella at 11:25 AM on November 5


Wasilla, Alaska to the closest point in Russia is about 1100 km.
posted by phoque at 5:39 AM on November 6 [4 favorites]


For a few moments on March 19, 2008, GRB 080319B was visible to the naked eye here on Earth despite being halfway across the universe. (Technical details: z=0.94, so from a time when the universe was ~half its present age.)
posted by secretseasons at 6:25 AM on November 7 [1 favorite]


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