An Atlantic View

I miss the sea.

Nottingham is about as landlocked as you can be while staying in England. Just like the darkness, I used to take the sea for granted somewhat, back when I lived here. Sometimes it’s nice just to stand and look out. You start to lose perspective when there’s nothing but water as far as the eye can see.

It’s interesting, looking towards the horizon, actually. It makes you think. The furthest part of the planet’s surface that you can see, before Earth’s surface curves away too much. Obviously, you’re capable of seeing further, but anything further is quite literally ‘over the horizon’, to use a clichéé. You have to wonder, if you were on a smaller planet, would the horizon look closer? Or vice versa?

If you stood on the surface of Mars and looked to the horizon, would it be noticeable that you were standing on a smaller planet…?

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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5 Responses to An Atlantic View

  1. invaderxan says:

    I’ve seen that image before. :)
    (Actually, I made a screensaver slideshow on my laptop of images from other planets…)
    See, this is what I figured. Smaller planet, higher curvature, closer horizon. But from images, it’s impossible to tell. When people do go to Mars, it’ll be interesting to see if anyone makes the observation.
    For that matter, I wonder if the thought occurred to any of the Apollo astronauts on the moon…

  2. helen99 says:

    Here’s a photograph of the Martian horizon as observed by the Spirit Rover.
    I think an observer on the surface probably couldn’t see quite as far into the distance as would be possible on Earth. A smaller planet would begin curving sooner and create a horizon that was nearer to the observer. At least that’s what I think – a lot of this turns out to be counter-intuitive, though, so I could be wrong. I’m not sure how noticeable the difference would be, as both planets are large compared to the observer.

  3. invaderxan says:

    That could be true. Though given there’d be landscape, perhaps that would give enough of a reference point. It’s hard to say… and interesting to think about. :)
    Oh, those aren’t large pebbles. They were just very close to the camera. ;)
    It varies actually from fine sand to big shingles. Or if you’re on the east coast… mud. Don’t go to the beach in Lincolnshire — it’s rubbish. :P

  4. madsophia says:

    maybe if you had some sort of object or point of reference. if it were just staring off into the see, I suppose it would have to be quite a difference in size to be noticable?
    also, my goodness what a large pebbly beach you have! I saw some of the sea while in england, I don’t much recall the sand.

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