Curvature from a Commercial Jet

February 27, 2006

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Provided and copyright by: Peter Hardie
Summary authors & editors: Peter Hardie

The photo above showing the Earth's curvature was taken on a flight from Bangkok to London on December 29, 2005, at approximately 14:30 Greenwich Meridian Time (GMT). We were at about 33,000 feet (10,058) when this picture was snapped, somewhere over Turkmenistan, in central Asia. Of course, the Earth isn't a perfect sphere. Since in fact it's flattened slightly at the poles and bulges somewhat at the equator, the geometrical figure used in geodesy to most nearly approximate the shape of the Earth is an ellipsoid of revolution. The Earth curves by approximately 8 inches per mile (20 cm per km).

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