What is the minimum altitude from the equator needed to view the Earth as a whole?Asked by: Illang Kumaran
AnswerAnother interesting question with an interesting answer. First, let us assume that the earth is a perfect sphere. That's not a bad assumption, since the earth is about as much a sphere as a basketball is (Mt. Everest is about the size of the dimples on a basketball). We will also ignore the slight deformation of the earth (it's a bit like a pancake in reality, but not by much). So we can make the following points:
- It does not really matter whether you go up from the equator or any other place.
- You can never see "all" of the earth -- one face will always be hidden -- the most you can see is half of the surface.
- You can never see that half fully either, but you can get pretty close.
Answered by: Yasar Safkan, Ph.D., Instructor, Yeditepe University, Istanbul, Turkey