When you stand on the hill, the horizon you see is
farther away and so looks higher.
happening can be illustrated as follows: draw a
circle (or trace a drinking glass or whatever).
This is the Earth. Now, put a little stick
standing on the circle (you). Use a ruler and find
the farthest point away from you that the straight
edge touches the circle. This is as far as you can
see. Mark it. Now,draw a hill, which is bigger
than you, and stand on top of it, and repeat the
process. You will notice that you can see
When standing on the shore, you can
only see ground(or water) at the same altitude as
you are that is about six miles away due to the
curvature of the Earth. If you're higher up (or
just taller), you see farther.
don't have a really good answer for this other
than to say that I think it is difficult to tell
if we are really looking horizontally; we don't
have a good sensor in our head that tells us what
the angle is between where we are looking and some
reference such as the zenith or a the line tangent
to an Earth radius or something.Another issue is
that sometimes when looking out to the horizon it
is difficult to tell where the ocean ends and the
sky begins but it sounds like this may not be a
concern for you.
You should be able to make a
simple instrument to measure the angle between the
horizon and a line that points towards the Earth's
center. You can take a protractor, drill a hole
in the "center," tie a string through the hole,
and tie a weight on the other end of the string.
If you sight along the edge of the protractor
towards the horizon, someone else can see what the
angle is between the string and the horizon.
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