1. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    A surprising fun science fact is that the curve of the earth is detectable simply by standing up. This works best with the surface of the ocean or a large lake, and it's something you can easily do at the beach. I recently gave it a go in a visit to Venice Beach near Los Angeles. With my Nikon P900 I held it close to the water level (about two feet up) and took a photo of a boat off in the distance. I then stood up and took another photo:

    And I did a similar comparison with a beachside hotel that was 11.2 miles away
    DSCN3065-Beach inn comparison.
    This difference here is just from me standing up. (The red roof is another building behind the hotel)

    I also had a very clear view of Catalina island, significant parts of which were under the horizon.

    I had to do a bit more than stand up here, but walking up to the nearby Palisades park (about 100 feet up) made a significant difference.


    Lining them all up:
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2017
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  2. CPRitter

    CPRitter New Member

    Are you sure that the differences are not due to ocean swells or in the case of the sailboat, the boat heeling?

    Did you do the trigonometry to ensure that the results make sense? If so would you please post same as a follow up?
  3. Landru

    Landru Moderator Staff Member

    I don't think the beachside hotel was heeling.
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  4. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Let's take the case of the hotel as it's a fixed object of known height and position. It's 11.2 miles away, so the amount hidden at 2 feet above the water is about 50-60 feet, depending on refraction.
    Standing up put the camera at around 7 feet, which gives around 34 to 42 feet hidden
    So a change of around 16 to 18 feet is expected with ordinary atmospheric conditions. This is consistent with what we see here, were between 1 and two floors are obscured when I stand up.

    Is this the ocean coincidentally "swelling" to match the expected curvature of the earth. No, because the 21 foot "swell" is permanent.

    One might be tempted to argue that there's simply lots of very gently 21 foot high waves in Santa Monica bay. But that makes no sense at all, and fails utterly when we consider the Catalina photos, at 38 miles away, and would require a permanent "swell" of 240 feet in height.

    Look at the surface of the ocean here. Apart from the relatively tiny waves it's a smooth single curve up to the horizon.

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  5. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Moderator Staff Member

    As for the actual hidden amount, here is a Street View (or rather "beach view") pic of the hotel:


    At a rough approximation, it is about one and a half people's height (say 9ft) from the waterline to the base of the rocks.

    There are then 24 steps up to the first floor:


    US standard stair height (for indoor stairs) is 7in rise, so assuming the same height that is 24 x 7/12 = 14 feet to the ground floor level.

    So that makes about 23 feet to the first floor from the sea level.

    From the higher camera level (on left in picture below), we can see the top two floors but not the ground floor. Assuming 10ft per storey, the base of the second floor (the first part we can see) is roughly 33ft above sea level.


    That agrees pretty well with the expected hidden height which is 33.89ft with standard refraction.
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  6. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    The reason I picked the Malibu Beach Hotel is that it's easy to spot as (from Venice and Santa Monica Beachs) it's directly below the quite large white Hughes Lab building, which is visible to the naked eye, and hence easy to find in the camera. Nice place to work:

    It's the white dot here.

    Besides collecting some good reference photos, I was also thinking about replicable experiments. Millions of people have relatively easy access to this location (unlike my last attempt at Folsom Lake). So the same observations can easily be replicated.

    Here's a few other shots of recognizable landmarks:

    Pepperdine University, a similar distance.

    The big house near Getty Villa (which most people think actually is Getty Villa)

    That's just 5.5 miles away, so only a few feet of beach are obscured. Here's a lower view.

    Close up on the shoreline.

    Again these amounts of obscuration are all consistent with the expected values.

    Low view of Point Dume:

    High View of Point Dume (walked up the Santa Monica Pier Ramp a bit)

    Unobstructed view from Google Earth:


    How much is hidden in the low view:
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
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  7. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Moderator Staff Member

    Nice pics. I'm going to be visiting family in Devon later this month, and if the weather is clear I will try to get some photos across the Bristol Channel to Wales from different viewpoints. There's a good vantage point on Capstone Point which is 155ft directly above the beach.


  8. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I think I was lucky with the weather, as you quite often can't even see Catalina from Santa Monica. Winter seems better, as there's less heat.
  9. Henk001

    Henk001 Active Member

    I couldn't resist the temptation to add these pictures of windmills at sea first standing at the beach the beach and then from a 24 m high dune. Also the buoy (I believe it is called) is interesting. In the first picture it is almost on top of the horizon. In the second the horizon is several miles further away
    The windmills were of this type
    And they were about 40 km (25 mi) away (actually between 36 and 45 km)
    For comparison: the blades have a length of 63 m and the tower is 120 m above sealevel.
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  10. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    A bit more on the view of Catalina:

    The dip in the middle is near Twin Harbors, a low lying region just 30 feet above sea level that is between the north and south parts of the island.


    So it's tempting to thing that only a few feet need be hidden for there to be the gap. However the view from Venice Beach is actually more from the North, so we would actually see:

    Where the lowest point where sky is visible is around 360 feet.
  11. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Sorry, "most people think is Getty Villa"

    The photos are different.
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  12. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Moderator Staff Member

    I didn't manage to do this, because Storm Doris had other ideas:


    However in a brief spell of clearer weather I did take a few photos of Lundy island from Woolacombe beach. The first pic is from the road about 50ft above the beach, the second is from close to sea level.


    The quality is pretty terrible because these are just zoomed crops of phone photos, but it still looks like the Earth isn't flat.
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  13. Abishua

    Abishua Member

    Hi Mick, I made some photos here in Croatia with similar results as yours, yet I question if the hiding is due to water swelling.. For example if you put on the table a coin and record from the table level.. that coin although it's very thin will hide much more height behind it.. so a wave or water swell that is slightly over 1ft could hide more land behid it due to perspective.. To be honest before i was leaning towards flat earth more due to these things but now I'm not sure that much anymore.. I m doing my best to be objective and figure this out because there seem to be inconclusive results in some cases.. for example this laser test on a frozen lake..

    I wonder if we can analyze it a bit more since it's done at 7+ mile distance, and the guy is also doing stand up/crouch you mentioned in the title..

    Here is the link, please check it out and tell me what you thoughts are on it

    Source: https://youtu.be/bwCRej0BoA4

    To explain video in more detail, two guys use a laser over 7.5 mile distance on a frozen lake to inspect will the laser light be blocked by earths curvature. Laser was set 41 inches above ice, but they removed the snow layer to get to ice, so snow layer was higher. One guy went out on a snowmobile and at 7.5 miles distance they could shine the laser on the ground. So it could be visible on the snow. If anyone is interested in more details I will be happy to answer, or you can just watch the video.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2017
  14. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    No, see post #5
  15. Abishua

    Abishua Member

  16. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah, it's close to a cold surface, so there's probably refraction curving the beam down.

    Long distance laser experiments are generally pointless. The beam is widely diverged after a few miles, and there are multiple paths it can take from laser to camera.

    If you have a frozen lake then repeat the Wallace experiment, it eliminates refraction errors.
  17. Abishua

    Abishua Member

    I don't think that experiment would eliminate refraction errors.. if it was visible we could still say it's refraction.. since light is the medium we use to inspect it..

    Since this is taken at night the temp difference of air and ice is not that big.. so refraction shouldn't be an issue. I might be wrong but we both can only speculate on this issue. I myself don't think this is the case. There might be something else I am not aware of but I don't think refraction bent that light 21 feet in 7.5 miles distance. So still on the fence here.. flat or sphere.. honestly don't know. Hopefully I will find the kill shot for one or the other to seal the deal. Just want to get it over with..
  18. Henk001

    Henk001 Active Member

    Here are two photographs of the huge ship "Pioneering Spirit" lying outside the port of Rotterdam, photographed from a distance of about 25 km,
    first from the beach (h1 ~ 0.5 m)
    and then standing on a dune (h2 ~ 12 m).
    The difference is obvious.
    The ship is still somewhat below the horizon. Here is a picture of it
    It happens to be the biggest ship in the world (328 m long, 124 m wide and about 70 m high, without the cranes).
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  19. Henk001

    Henk001 Active Member

    Windmills at sea (located at the Thorntonbank before the Belgian coast), photographed from a dune at a height of 28 m. The distance was between 45 and 55 km.
    Zooming in and enhancing the contrast:
    The height of the turbines is 94 m above sealevel. The blades have a lenght of 63 m.
    (They were invisible standing on the beach)
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  20. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Very nice. The large scale effect works best with very large things like mountains, but a giant ship is great as it's much easier to make out details with the high contrast colors.
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  21. Abishua

    Abishua Member

    this one is very interesting because the blades of windmills are the same dimensions.. so we can calculate the % how smaller the further windmill blade is.. and does it match the % of the post the blade is standing on. Not really sure how to do that tho.. that way we can see if the further one is shorter only because of distance or because it's behind the curve. Good job
  22. Bfahome

    Bfahome Member

    Even without doing any calculations it's clear that the height difference couldn't possibly be accounted for by the distance. Without a curve, the blades of the further turbines would get half submerged in the ocean on every rotation. Compare this image of the turbines up close:

    On the more distant turbines, well over half of the tower height is cut off by the curvature; that's not something that can be done just by moving them further away on a flat plane.
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  23. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    The key observation that the Flat Earther seems to be missing (or is glossing over) is that as things get further away they get smaller. They do not change shape. This is best demonstrated visually.

    It's actually a bit difficult for a normal person to comprehend the FE arguments for things vanishing behind the horizon. Not because they are so subtle and insightful, but because they make absolutely no sense. This creates difficulties in communication.
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  24. Abishua

    Abishua Member

    I just believe we need to be objective and scientific about this. I know this subject brings out emotional tantrums and sometimes the worst out of people, but that's not why we are here. As civilized people we can have a healthy discussion with no pressure.. and can bring forth things on our mind, and discuss it while maintaining mutual respect.

    Sea can be a tricky medium to watch the curvature for because of atmospheric effects. For example in this image we can see distant ships filmed at the sea. The important thing about it is that both pictures are taken from the same place, and due to different atmospheric effects on different days we seem to get different results. So on a ship that is further away we can clearly see how it's bottom front part is cutting through waves at sea level, yet on another day a ship that is few miles closer looks like it's behind earth curvature.

    So if we were subjective, superficial and sloppy in what we do, we could make this mistake easily and claim the second boat is behind earths curvature, yet there is a solid proof this is not the case. Something else is happening here.


    [Video removed]
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2017
  25. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Yes things can be obscured by refraction sometimes - and you can see this by the distortion at the bottom of the image. But look at the images in my first few posts here. There's a sharp clear horizon, and there an undistorted image behind it.

    And again, the different in these images (with zero distortion) is from just standing up.
  26. sweepleader

    sweepleader Member

    I believe if the missing portion of the observable height of a distant object were due to ocean swells on a flat earth, a single object from a single observation point would change apparent height over time as the swells moved in and out of the line of sight. I do not have access to a good location for verifying this, perhaps someone who does could comment as to whether or not the islands, far shores, wind mills, etc. change apparent height with time through a long observation.
  27. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    They don't. I spend considerably time on the beach at Venice and Santa Monica. The obscuration was solid and consistent. In particular the obscuration of several hundred feet of Catalina Island.
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  28. Bass In Your Face

    Bass In Your Face Active Member

    ..and if every answer to every photo is "must be a swell", then that tells you something about the logic of that as a universal answer...
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  29. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    In particular the "swell" theory must account for how the swell always happens to be the correct size to simulate the curvature of the Earth.

    Like most flat earth claims, if you actually do the math, it really boils down to them saying: "the Earth is not round, it just looks and acts that way"
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  30. sweepleader

    sweepleader Member

    How come it is always positive and never a trough? :{)
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  31. Leifer

    Leifer Senior Member

    Here, I'm likely venturing into territory beyond my scope of knowledge.
    A basic question that seems to arise (no pun), is...
    "are you taking photos showing ocean (or lake) swells ?" (therefore showing swell peaks, are not true level of a theoretically flat body of water"

    My thoughts would be...over a long distance, ocean swells are at somewhat constant intervals and height, with an occasional "peak-peak" of a certain higher swell.
    The longer the distance observed, the more the swells there are.
    Say there are 100 swells over 4 miles....plus, if an occasional 'high swell' comes every 25 swell intervals...I think there would be some 'averaging' of swell height, between camera and the distantly viewed object.

    I'm not sure if it's needed, but maybe a demonstration of several photos over a short period of time, to show consistency of swells, or a real-time video. This is of course if the photograph(s) are taken at average (median) sea-level.

    I think Mick is demonstrating that by altering your view by just a few feet, the swells become almost inconsequential, as the swell height is still averaged-out.
    Because even a few feet in camera height, also includes averaged (or high) swells.
    So the swells are included in each camera height examples.
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  32. sweepleader

    sweepleader Member

    I am willing to take Mick's word as an expert observer, he has put in some time on this issue and has demonstrated consistent thoughtfulness.
  33. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    One should also think about what is even meant by a "swell" in this instance:

    There's six hundred feet of Catalina island being obscured. I left in the bars on the side as a reference to where I was shooting from. Here it is from the same position, but zoomed out.

    So I'm standing on the pier at Santa Monica. Maybe 40 feet above the waterline. and 800 feet from the water.

    So how exactly could a "swell" account for this? How could it account for the tack-sharp horizon line? Is there 40 foot high mound of water just offshore from the pier? Is there a 610 foot high mound of water just offshore from Catalina Island? Is there a 240 foot high swell 7.75 miles off shore (coincidently where the horizon would be?).

    The ONLY thing that fits ALL the observations is a gradually curving ocean, with a radius of curvature of approximately 4000 miles.
  34. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    that can prove problematic :) timestamp embedded in link.

    Source: https://youtu.be/2GDhVoWSrMg?t=152
  35. Leifer

    Leifer Senior Member

    I've research a bit on how to find the "sea-level"......not the average sea level over a long time, but the "current level" at the moment of measurement...the mean sea level at an instant, which can and does include local tides.
    I'm not sure if this method is useful, but it may be.....called a 'stilling well".
    It's a way to measure mean water height despite above and under-water disruptions (waves, wind, tides, current), using internal measurements among a dampened pipe system.

    Anyways, if the above is not quite appropriate, here is a good glossary of general wave terms......
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2017
  36. Philippe

    Philippe New Member

    could you please explain how I was able to see Santa Barbara Island 43 miles away to the naked eyes from Trump National Golf Club (Palos Verdes, Los Angeles) at sea level when there is a declination of over 1200 feet but the tallest summit Signal Hill on Santa Barbara is only 634 feet high?
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 9, 2017
  37. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Moderator Staff Member

    The Trump golf club isn't at sea level.

    It's on top of cliffs that are about 50 metres high. According to Google Earth the elevation of the clubhouse is about 62m (200ft) and the lowest parts of the course itself, on the cliff edge, are at 50m (164ft).


    With a viewer height of 164ft the hidden height is less than 500ft, so Santa Barbara Island should be visible:


    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 9, 2017
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  38. Philippe

    Philippe New Member

    I specifically said SEA LEVEL because that's where i was at the bottom of the hill on the rocky beach where there is a public trail. I have taken a photo with my Nikon P900, I would be happy to show it to you.
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  39. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member


    Palos Verdes is a great place to observe the larger scale effect for a couple of reasons:
    1. It has cliffs with beach access in places, so you can take photos at near sea level (like 2 feet) then all the way up to 200 feet at the top of the cliff.
    2. It has a good view of Catalina Island and Santa Barbara Island.
    Santa Barbara Island in particular offers us another great advantage - at certain times of the year the sun sets behind the island, giving a great contrast against the sky (and sometimes even the sun itself). The islands both have two distinct peaks, allowing us to scale an image to see how much has been obscured.

    Example from Rancho Palos Verde (probably taken from several hundred feet above the golf course)
    Picture 11.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017
  40. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    That would be nice. Metabunk is big on actual evidence.
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