# Observations of Pike's Peak

#### Cochrane Day

##### New Member
There's [someone] on Youtube who is using your calculator and offsetting everything by 5000 feet as that is his "base line height" in Colorado.

I've corrected his maths and used the formula from your earlier spreadsheet version to explain why he is wrong.

But next time you are editing the curve page then changing "Viewer height in Feet" to "Viewer height above sea level in Feet" my dissuade further jokers.

Great site and work by the way.

reupload of the deleted video (thanks @Rory)

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#### Mick West

Staff member
There's [someone] on Youtube who is using your calculator and offsetting everything by 5000 feet as that is his "base line height" in Colorado.

I've corrected his maths and used the formula from your earlier spreadsheet version to explain why he is wrong.

He's not wrong. If there's nothing below 5,000 feet between the viewer and the target, then you can effectively say 5,000 feet is sea level. The height above sea level is only relevant if you can see the ocean horizon.

#### Mick West

Staff member
From that video, here's a fit to a "flat earth" view:

A new technique is to use the snow features in the above image and the red line to adjust a plane to intersect the mountain at the same position. Then you can find the actual amount of "hidden" for this situation.

And the top of the mountain is just below eye level.

hat's because there's a drop of 9130 feet, plus the view height of 5177 feet = 14,307, and the peak is 14,114 feet.

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#### Rory

##### Closed Account
It's interesting that he does some half-decent background math and then when it comes to comparing his image he ignores any attempt at methodology and merely concludes "there's no way you should be able to see that."

Strange also that he doesn't notice the massive difference between reality and the diagram he's comparing his image to - particularly with regard to the shape of the summit:

My first question if I were him might be: "is this diagram an actual drawing of Pikes Peak, or is it merely illustrative?"

Comparing it with photos of Pikes Peak from the south clearly indicates the latter.

I had a look on peakfinder and by entering a viewer closer to Pikes Peak, but along the same line of sight, we get a good representation of his image:

Sentinel Point, therefore, is some distance outside his image, while the peak of Satchett Mountain, at 12,590 feet, is just hidden by the ridge.

I also looked at images from Woodland Park, which is on the same line of sight but only around 10 miles from Pikes Peak. It's pretty easy to match up the various peaks and troughs:

The peaks would be pretty easy to identify and verify by taking compass readings. I'm sure if the video maker had done this he could have worked out that he wasn't actually seeing Sentinel Point, nevermind the 5000 feet below this.

I have slightly different figures for his position, with a GPS of 40.526265, -105.115231, elevation of 5162 feet (not including tripod), and distance to Pikes Peak of 116.5 miles. Shouldn't think that would change much though.

Mick makes a great point about the summit of Pikes Peak being below eye level too: if the video maker goes back he could measure it with a theodolite: on a flat earth the peak would be about 0.8° above eye level, whereas in reality it's about 0.1° below. That should be pretty easy to discern. And a much better way to figure out the shape of the earth than trying to use 'hidden amount', given that his shot doesn't actually have a horizon in it.

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#### Rory

##### Closed Account
A note on using peakfinder.org

Peakfinder is a very useful tool when it comes to identifying mountain summits. But one thing I've noticed is that the posted elevations are often quite different to USGS and NAVD88 figures, which I believe are the most reliable.

The reason for this is that peakfinder uses openstreetmap.org for its data, which is a system of mapping "built by a community of mappers that contribute and maintain data about roads, trails, cafés, railway stations, and much more, all over the world."

In other words, it's a bit like wikipedia, and therefore editable by anyone, which makes it more prone to error.

In a nutshell: peakfinder for indentifying mountains, but NAVD88 for elevations.

#### Rory

##### Closed Account
The video in the OP got deleted. But it's been reuploaded here:

Was revisiting this as there's a similar one of San Jacinto in California currently exciting some flat earthers as it was shot in infrared and things look cool in infrared.

Source: https://youtu.be/mOGs2yfEqp0 (from around 12 minutes)

He seems to think the peak should be hidden, for some reason, but the calculator shows 5,000 feet still visible.

A fairly easy debunk but might be worth a thread

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#### Rory

##### Closed Account
Flat earth believer Nick Havok has uploaded a new Pikes Peak video, which shows a shot from 130 miles away:

He's pretty much on the same line of sight as the video above, just a little further north, parked on the I-25 southbound onramp at Owl Canyon Road (40.753531, -104.993167).

Elevation for that spot is 5,341 feet, and the distance to Pikes Peak is 132 miles. Using his estimated base level of 5,000 feet, as above, this gives a predicted hidden amount of 6,614 feet, meaning about 2,500 feet should be visible (notwithstanding the ridges that are in the way also).

He gets his figures more or less right - though doesn't use the refracted hidden amount - but where he goes wrong (again) is in concluding that he's seeing the whole mountain. And, once more, he just 'guesstimates' this, rather than comparing other images or peakfinder - this time stating that he's looking at the top 8,000 feet.

As can be seen, though, he's only catching down to the bottom of the long ridge to the left of the summit, which is probably about as far as Almagre Peak, at 12,367 feet, or most likely slightly above:

This means he's really only seeing about the top 1,800-2,000 feet of the mountain - perfectly compatible with a spherical Earth, and perfectly incompatible with any notion of a flat one.

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#### Rory

##### Closed Account
This is a nice shot of Pikes Peak taken from a helicopter at a much closer distance:

While this reveals a little more of the range, even taken from the air there's still the problem of a large ridge obscuring the bases of the mountains.

I think we can safely conclude that shots taken at ground level dozens of miles further away aren't going to allow us to see what's hidden by that ridge.

#### Rory

##### Closed Account
Been chatting a bit with the maker of these videos in the youtube comments. We're not quite seeing what one another are seeing, but it's an interesting dialogue. I asked him how he was measuring the visible amount of the mountains and he said:

The gradient map he's referring to is this one:

Now, I never thought it was a particularly strong claim, given that they're completely different shapes but, more than that, I also suddenly noticed something else...

Moderator Note:deirdre
see https://www.metabunk.org/posts/227305/ for Rory's correction of the following

The gradient map is the wrong way round!

His image is taken from the north, whereas this map shows Pikes Peak from the south. Barr Camp on his image would be on the left (if it was visible; it isn't); on the gradient map it's on the right.

Can't believe I didn't see that before.

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#### Rory

##### Closed Account
The Google Earth elevation profile tool is useful in shots like this, where there's a ridge in the way. Not only does it help locate where the ridge is, it provides a simulation of the flat Earth view:

This shows that, even on a flat earth, only about 4,000 feet of the mountain would be visible.

The ridge in question is located at 39.178438, -105.033237, at about 9300 feet elevation. Close to that point, at Devil's Head, is a fire lookout, which gives a really nice view of the southern front range, including Almagre and Sentinel Point, and much, much more:

Source: http://explorewithmedia.com/fire-tower/

Checking with peakfinder, we can see that this shows about the top 4,300 feet.

Another easy debunk of this photo would be to draw paths between the viewpoint and the claimed visible peaks, and see how this compares with what we see in reality.

Also, as youtube user Bob the Science Guy points out, if the Earth were flat we would be able to see Denver, whose altitude is about a hundred feet less than that of the viewer.

Denver, however, is 71 miles away, and hidden by around 2000 feet of curvature.

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#### Rory

##### Closed Account
The Google Earth elevation profile tool is useful in shots like this, where there's a ridge in the way.

For these Pikes Peak shots we're using 5000 feet as the base level, since it's not a shot over water. That's approximately the lowest point - though the lowest point is actually 4840 feet.

Should we be using that instead as a base level? Or should it be the altitude of the point at which the line of sight intersects the horizon?

I'm thinking the latter - but then: how do we know where that is?

#### Mick West

Staff member

For these Pikes Peak shots we're using 5000 feet as the base level, since it's not a shot over water. That's approximately the lowest point - though the lowest point is actually 4840 feet.

Should we be using that instead as a base level? Or should it be the altitude of the point at which the line of sight intersects the horizon?

I'm thinking the latter - but then: how do we know where that is?
It does not seem like it matters. It’s a different type of calculation to the curve calculator that assumes a horizon formed by a spherical surface. Instead you have two positions and a number of potentia obscuring heights I nbetwee.

#### Rory

##### Closed Account
It does not seem like it matters. It’s a different type of calculation to the curve calculator that assumes a horizon formed by a spherical surface. Instead you have two positions and a number of potential obscuring heights in between.

I hear ya. And at the same time, some value has to be inputted for viewer height, and whether it's height above 5000 or 4840 or 5300 will make quite a difference (a range of 5992 to 8721 for hidden amount).

Question is: how do we choose which one? Or is it always going to be a rough figure, so somewhere thereabouts will do?

#### Rory

##### Closed Account
Now, I never thought it was a particularly strong claim, given that they're completely different shapes but, more than that, I also suddenly noticed something else...

The gradient map is the wrong way round!

Oops! I was completely wrong about him matching his image up to a gradient map from the opposite direction - I was just watching his first video again while making a video response of my own and I realised that he'd horizontally flipped his original image so that the orientation did actually line up.

I've let him know in a youtube comment and he's been very gracious about my error. Which is nice.

Not that it changes the mistakes he made in lining up incorrect points - as demonstrated in the earlier posts, and as he has now acknowledged himself - but it sure will teach me to double check the original sources for images before I jump in with my so-called 'debunks'; he'd even labelled it at one point!

Credit must also go to Nick Sangetta for having now realised his error. Not that he's ready to back down on his flat earth belief, or his idea that he can show an 'impossible' view of Pikes Peak - but after a strenuous defense he recently conceded that maybe we were seeing only the top 1800-1900 feet of the mountain (in his 'Pikes Peak 3' video):

As for "beating the curvature formula" - he still says it's 500-700 feet off, but that's because he hasn't taken refraction into account when working out the hidden amount.

Also, the observed mountain is still 500-700 feet away from what is predicted - but in the other direction (i.e., we're seeing less than we would without obstructions).

I suppose the issue now for flat earth believers is to think about why they're not seeing the predicted value for their own model of around 4,000 feet...

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#### Kerosun

##### New Member
Hello! I wanted to reply here in regards to Nick Hovak's new video he put up a couple days ago. In that video, he makes the claim that he can see 8,000 feet of Pikes Peak.

I want to focus on the image we see in his video at 10:43. This is the point in the video that I found that had the clearest image of the mountain on the features to the right of it. I edited the screenshot some to get a clearer, sharper image of the mountain's features against the haze and sky. I came up with this image.

What I wanted to do was find out where Sentinel Point is in this video because that will help us later on. I found used Google Maps to get the exact coordinates where he zoomed in to get the above image. This gave me 40.754369, -104.993504.

To find Pikes Peak, I put these coordinates into Peak Finder. I zoomed in as far as I could and looked directly south and got this image:

I'll use this later. Let's go back to the first image.

We can use Nick's estimate of 8,000 feet as a marker. If Nick suggests that we can see 8,000 feet of the mountain, then this can be used as a gauge to determine how far away these sharp points are in the image. From that image, I came up with this one. So, I used MS Paint to draw a line from the top of the obstruction in front of Pikes Peak to the top. This became my scale to determine 8,000 feet. I dragged this line off to the side and locked its dimensions. From Pikes Peak, I drew a vertical line (used a photo editor with a snap-grid to ensure it was perfectly vertical within the program). I did this for the first sharp peak to the right of Pikes Peak as well. I then used the 8,000 foot line I created and copied it to my clipboard (setting the copy to transparent). With this, I copy/pasted multiples of these line segments in increments to the right, using the snap grid to ensure I stopped one where the other one ended (I also raise/lowered it a bit for clarity to visually see where each 8,000 foot marker stopped/started).

What this gave me is a line that I can use to measure the ground distance between Pikes Peak and the first sharp peak to the right of Pikes Peak. From this, it was about 2.4 line segments. Using each of these lines as a gauge for 8,000 feet, I multiplied 8,000 by 2.4 to get 19,200 feet. I know these are VERY crude estimates, but bear with me. If 8,000 feet of Pikes Peak is visible in this video and the screenshot I included above, then the first sharp peak is about 19,200 feet away from Pikes Peak.

Here is a visual representation of what I mean:

Now, the important thing is to find Sentinel Point, but lets look at something real quick.

GPS Coordinates for Pikes Peak: 38.8405322, -105.0442048
GPS Coordinates for Sentinel Point: 38.840500, -105.104700

Using the Distance calculator found here, we can determine that the distance between Pike's Peak and Sentinel Point is 3.26 miles or 17,212 feet. This is a really good distance to use because Nick is almost directly north of Pikes Peak and these two points are almost directly east/west from each other. That means that Nick should see these points at a fairly close representation to 17,200 feet if he has a good scale of distance to use. Since Nick suggests the visible height of Pikes Peak is 8,000 feet, we can use that to see if this estimate matches reality. using my last screenshot above, we run into a problem. The first sharp peak to the right of Pikes Peak is estimated at about 19,000 feet of ground distance away. That would mean Sentinel Point should be between Pikes Peak and the first sharp peak that we see. This brings us back to the screenshot I got from Peak Finder.

I enlarged (and cropped) the mountains showing in the screenshot until I got Pikes Peak at about the same size and slope we see in Nick's video. This is where things get interesting to me.

Once I placed this enlarged image below the still from the video where the peaks line up, we can see where Sentinel Peak should be. I continued my 8,000 ft segments out to see about how many of these line segments get me from Pikes Peak to Sentinel Point.

When you count the line segments, there is 9 of them. If each line segment roughly represents 8,000 feet, then the distance between Pikes Peak and Sentinel Point is about 72,000 feet away (13.63 miles). We know that's not the case. It would be rather impossible for the visible height to be 8,000 feet in the top picture since it would put Sentinel Point many miles away when it should be only a little more than 3 miles.

Now, with the above image, I decided to look at it a different way. If we presume that the line segment matches the visible height of Pikes Peak, then we can say that Sentinel Point is roughly 9 "visible heights" away from Pikes Peak. we know that the actual distance between the two is 17,212 feet. If we divide that by 9, we get 1,912.4 feet. This would imply, if my estimates are fairly (albeit crudely) accurate, then I would estimate that the visible height of Pikes Peak from the 10:43 in the video is actually around 2,000 feet. With the Standard Refraction calculation on this website, and assuming a base elevation of 9114 feet, I get 6614 feet. Subtract that from 9,114 feet, and I get 2,500 feet. If you consider the variable errors in my crude estimates, the compression an image has because of refraction over long distances, and the possibility that the obstruction at the base of the mountain is higher than the elevation of the viewer, I think my estimate is a fairly accurate one using a screenshot of the video and a screenshot of Peak Finder from the same location.

#### deirdre

##### Senior Member.
Hello! I wanted to reply here in regards to Nick Hovak's new video he put up a couple days ago.
Hi. not sure if you know, because @Rory hid the video link in a hyperlink, but that is what is being discussed in the last few posts. If you click the little arrow next to Rory's name in the quote it will bring you to the start of the discussion.

Flat earth believer Nick Havok has uploaded a new Pikes Peak video

#### Rory

##### Closed Account
Now, with the above image, I decided to look at it a different way. If we presume that the line segment matches the visible height of Pikes Peak, then we can say that Sentinel Point is roughly 9 "visible heights" away from Pikes Peak. we know that the actual distance between the two is 17,212 feet. If we divide that by 9, we get 1,912.4 feet. This would imply, if my estimates are fairly (albeit crudely) accurate, then I would estimate that the visible height of Pikes Peak from the 10:43 in the video is actually around 2,000 feet.

That's an interesting way to arrive at the visible amount of the mountain. Kinda cool that it's the same that I estimated using peakfinder, and that Nick has also now agreed is what we're actually seeing:

With the Standard Refraction calculation on this website [...] I get 2,500 feet. If you consider the variable errors in my crude estimates, the compression an image has because of refraction over long distances, and the possibility that the obstruction at the base of the mountain is higher than the elevation of the viewer, I think my estimate is a fairly accurate one using a screenshot of the video and a screenshot of Peak Finder from the same location.

I actually think your "crude estimate" is pretty much spot on. The reason we're not seeing 2,500 feet is because there's a ridge in the way, as discussed above.

Nice technique.

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#### Rory

##### Closed Account
I suppose the issue now for flat earth believers is to think about why they're not seeing the predicted value for their own model of around 4,000 feet...

I'd estimated that 4,000 feet of predicted viewable mountain on the hypothetical flat earth by using the handy elevation profile tool on Google Earth and drawing a tangent line across the highest ridge:

The other way to do that would be to use a bit of trigonometry and play with right-angled triangles.

First we'd make a triangle with a hypotenuse formed by the viewer and the ridge. Base is 109.1 miles (575942.4 feet) and height (ridge elevation-viewer elevation) is 3945 feet. This gives us an angle of 0.392°.

Then, using this angle, we work out the height of the triangle for the full distance, where the base length is 132.2 miles (698121.6 feet). This gives us a height of 4776.4 feet.

Add this to the viewer elevation (5341+4776=10117) and subtract that from Pikes Peak and this predicts 3997 would be visible on a flat earth.

It's very satisfying when different techniques and estimates all turn out more or less the same.

#### Kerosun

##### New Member
I'm glad you liked the technique I used. Another thing I noticed when looking overhead in Google Earth with Pikes Peak and Sentinel Point in view is that you can actually see the 3 sharp peaks between these two summits. If you use Google Earth to mark these sharp peaks to get a GPS coordinate, you can use the same distance calculator to find the ground distance from Pikes Peak to each of these sharp peaks. That will give you additional reference points to compare to the visible height of the mountain.

I do enjoy how multiple techniques can get you to the same answers. This is something that always concerned me with "flat earth proofs". In most of those proofs, they only work on an individual basis where many of the proofs often contradict each other. And you don't have multiple different ways to look at one thing where you get non-contradictory results.

#### Rory

##### Closed Account
One thing that was bugging me about the Pikes Peak shot was that I didn't know what the geometrically predicted visible amount was for a sphere earth. Now I do:

This is from a calculator I made in excel. The two different figures for the sphere earth are because the second one factors in for both tilt and the slight increase in distance along line of sight as opposed to sea level (i.e., 'peak-to-peak' rather than 'base-to-base').

I derived the flat earth 'with refraction' figure by dividing the angle that the line of sight passes over the ridge by 7/6. If that's not the right way to do that, do please let me know.

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#### Rory

##### Closed Account
One modification to that: it turns out that, in this particular shot, different ridges are causing the obstruction for the different models.

Here are the updated results for that:

The obscuring ridge in reality is one 28.1 miles away from the observer. There's a tool similar to peakfinder that's really useful in figuring things like this out:

https://www.udeuschle.de/panoramas/makepanoramas.htm

It's a little clunky - especially when trying to use the map - but if you stick to editing the text boxes it works really well.

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