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    The Horizon at Sea Level

    What is the Distance to the Horizon?

    How Far Away is the Edge of the World?

    If you stand on the beach right where the water begins, and your eyes are 4 feet from the sand, then the edge of the world is nearly 2 1/2 miles away!

    So, how much farther can you see IF you are up on...
    a high building?
    or a cliff?
    or a bridge?
    or an airplane?
    OR if you stand up on STILTS?

    Take a look at the chart below. In the left column find the number of feet up your eyes would be when you are standing on stilts. The number to the right is how far away the horizon is in miles.

    Let's say you are about 4 feet six inches tall. If you stand on the beach near the water and look out at the sea, the horizon is about 2 and a half miles away. Now, if you get your stilts and set them to the twenty-four inches settings and then stand on them at the same place in the sand, the horizon will be about a half a mile further away.

    You can see how these numbers work in the chart below. Let's say that you eyes are about five feet from the ground. Look down the left column and find 5 feet. For you, the horizon is 2.75 miles away.

    Now let's say that you climb up onto your stilts, which are set at 12 inches, which is one foot. Now your eyes are 6 feet above the ground. Look down the left column and find 6 feet. Now you can see about 3 miles.

    So, by climbing up only 1 foot, you can see 2,640 feet further! Cool, huh?!

    If your eyes are this far from the ground (in feet)... ...the horizon is this far from you in miles (assuming the horizon is at sea level, with no obstructions in the way):
    1 1.23
    2 1.74
    3 2.13
    4 2.46
    5 2.75
    6 3.01
    7 3.25
    8 3.48
    9 3.69
    10 3.89
    11 4.08
    12 4.26
    13 4.43
    14 4.60
    15 4.76
    16 4.92
    17 5.07
    18 5.22
    19 5.36
    20 5.50
    30 6.74
    40 7.78
    50 8.70
    100 12.30
    200 17.39
    300 21.30
    400 24.60
    500 27.50
    1000 38.90
    2500 61.50
    5280 (1 mile) 89.38
    15,840 (3 miles) 154.80
    52,800 (10 miles)282.63

    How Did We Calculate This?

    For those who just have to know the formula for calculating this, it is:
    1. Find the distance between your eyes and the ground.
    2. Find the square root of that distance
    3. Multiply that number times 1.23.
    (If you want nautical miles, instead of standard miles, multiply by 1.17.)

    For example: Let's say your eyes are 6 feet from the sand at the water's edge. The square root of 6 is 2.449489742783. When you multiply 2.449489742783 times 1.23, you get 3.01, the number of miles to the horizon.

    What is Square Root?

    The square root of a number (like 6) is the number which when multiplied times itself (like 2.449489742783) comes up to that first number (6).
    Go ahead, multiply 2.449489742783 X 2.449489742783 and you get 5.99999999 which is close enough to 6. (I don't know why you don't get exactly 6. Go ask your mother.) Or, you can ask Dr. Math. But I warn you, you won't know any more after you read his explanation. (GRIN) Click HERE to go to Dr. Math

    Other examples of square roots:

    The square root of 9 is 3, because 3 X 3 = 9.
    The square root of 36 is 6, because 6 X 6 = 36.
    The square root of 144 is 12, because 12 X 12 = 144.

    Those are easy examples. For the harder ones I can use the calculator. Just put in the number you want the square root of and touch the key that says SqRt (or something like that.) There is a way, of course, for figuring it out by hand. I will let you find out how.

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