1. Bunkmeister

    Bunkmeister New Member

    In discussing horizons and visibility with flat earthers, a US Coast Guard geographic range table was brought to my attention. This is a guide for estimating visibility distances over open water.

    The full document that this came from here is here on page 7 (https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/lightLists/LightList V6.pdf) but I have attached the relevant portion below.


    As I read this, one takes the provided nautical miles distance of the observer height and the object height, adds them together, and can get a quick estimate of visibility range.

    In the sample example provided above, the observer height is 35 feet, object height is 65 feet, and the computed geographic visibility is 16.3 nautical miles (18.76 regular miles). I plugged in 18.76 miles to the curve calculator, and 88 feet is the amount hidden, a full 23 feet more than the purported object. Does this not contradict generally accepted notions of curvature? Am I missing something?
  2. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    The table shows the practical distance to the horizon including average refraction. The extra value used for average refraction varies a little (as it varies a lot in real life, depending on the weather), but is around 1/7 of the geometric distance. So from 65 feet it's 9.5 NM, and from 35 feet it's 6.5 NM. 1 NM is 1.15 miles, so that's 10.9 miles and 7.5 miles.

    With my curve calculator it's 9.9 miles, 10.7 with refraction (vs. 10.9)

    and then 7.2 miles and 7.8 with refraction (vs. 7.5)

    If you plug in the total distance of 18.76 miles from 35 feed you get:
    Distance = 18.76 Miles (99052.8 Feet), View Height = 35 Feet (420 Inches) Radius = 3959 Miles (20903520 Feet)

    Results ignoring refraction
    Horizon = 7.24 Miles (38252.42 Feet)
    Bulge = 58.67 Feet (704.05 Inches)
    Drop = 234.69 Feet (2816.23 Inches)
    Hidden= 88.42 Feet (1061.07 Inches)
    Horizon Dip = 0.105 Degrees, (0.0018 Radians)

    With Standard Refraction 7/6*r, radius = 4618.83 Miles (24387440 Feet)
    Refracted Horizon = 7.83 Miles (41317.33 Feet)
    Refracted Drop= 201.16 Feet (2413.91 Inches)
    Refracted Hidden= 68.34 Feet (820.11 Inches)
    Refracted Dip = 0.097 Degrees, (0.0017 Radians)

    The refracted hidden is 68 feet (vs. 65 feet). So that seems about right, as the visibility table would include refraction as it's intend to be what you can actually see, not some theoretical geometric visibility.
  3. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Perhaps the more relevant issue here is: why does the table describes visibility over a curved surface? What exactly is the point of a Flat Earther bringing up this table if all it says is that the effective radius of the globe (if we ignore refraction) is slightly bigger than expected. Are they just "slightly bigger globe-heads"?

    How was this table used in conversation?
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  4. Bunkmeister

    Bunkmeister New Member

    It was posted during a debate about whether curved water exists. I was told that this was bombshell information from the government itself contradicting the globe earthers' claims about curvature of the earth.

    I just noticed this piece within the last week. Not sure if this is a new meme, but it would not surprise me if you start to see this starting to pop up from flat-earthers more often. It has been posted multiple times on one of the largest flat earth Facebook groups.
  5. Z.W. Wolf

    Z.W. Wolf Active Member

    Could you give us a few first hand examples?

    These tables have been used for hundreds of years, btw.

    Brief history of the American Practical Navigator [or Bowditch] from Wiki:

    These distance of visibility tables aren't the only thing in Bowditch, and not all distance of visibility tables are from Bowditch; I'm just giving you an idea of how long they have been in use. These charts have been used millions of times in association with navigation techniques that only work on a spherical surface. So bringing up this whole subject would seem to be pretty self-defeating for any FE believer. But maybe they're just trying to point out an anomaly. Any anomaly.

    In this 1943 US Navy training film - Night Piloting -student navigators are taught to refer to:


    Table 8 - Distance of Visibility of Objects at Sea:
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017 at 7:34 PM
  6. Z.W. Wolf

    Z.W. Wolf Active Member

    Bobbing the light. One of our members describes practical experience at sea:


    An explanation of the technique from: http://boatsafe.com/nauticalknowhow/distance.htm

    You can use tables or you can use a formula:

    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017 at 7:31 PM
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  7. Bunkmeister

    Bunkmeister New Member

    Examples of?
  8. Z.W. Wolf

    Z.W. Wolf Active Member

    ... of the arguments being presented by FE believers. You've given us a second hand account. Can you give us a first hand example? I just want to be sure what it is they are actually arguing.

    Is this just one isolated thing you've run across, or are there more?
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017 at 7:53 PM
  9. Rory

    Rory Active Member

    And do they explain why being higher helps them see further?