Created By : Abhinandan Kumar

Reviewed By : Rajashekhar Valipishetty

Last Updated : May 16, 2023

The Earth Curvature Calculator calculates how much of a distant object the Earth's curvature covers, as well as the target's overall height behind the horizon. To quickly compute the distance to the horizon and hidden object section, simply enter the eyesight level distance to the object information and press the calculate button.

Choose a Calculation
Distance To Object:
Eye Sight Level:
Distance To Horizon:
Obscured Distance:

What is the Curvature of the Earth?

Assume you're looking out at the sea. There's no land in sight, just boundless blue waters glistening in the late-afternoon sun. The line that separates the water and the sky may be seen. The horizon is the name given to this line. Suddenly, you see a point that is becoming increasingly larger. It starts out as the top of a white sail, but as it gets closer, you can see the shape of a ship. What happened to this ship? It was obscured by the horizon.

The reason for this is simple: because Earth's shape is extremely similar to that of a sphere, the surface between you and the ship is not completely flat, but "bulges" up a little. That's why your view has been hindered. Earth's curvature is just a measurement of this "bulge." It's measured in terms of the "bulge's" height per kilometre or mile.

Earth's Curvature per Mile

So, how big is the Earth's curvature? It has to be small because we don't see it in our daily life. The most accurate estimate, according to most sources, is 8 inches per mile. That means the curve will obscure 8 inches of an object's height for every mile between you and it.

Height of an Object that is Obstructed

To determine the precise distance between you and the horizon, you must know two values: your vision level and the Earth's radius. The following is the equation a = √[(r + h)² - r²]

  • Where, a = distance of the horizon
  • h = eyesight level above mean sea level
  • r = Erath's radius, which is 6371 km or 3959 miles

You'll need to know the distance to the horizon, the distance to the object, and your eyesight level to find out how high an object is obscured. The following is the formula for calculating the object's obstructed height x = √(a² - 2ad + d² + r²) - r

  • Where, d = distance of the object
  • x = obscured object part

For more concepts check out to get quick answers by using this free tool.

How do I determine the Distance to the Horizon of an Obscure Object Part?

The steps to simply compute the distance to the horizon and the hidden object section are described below.

  • Step 1: Get the object's distance and vision level information.
  • Step 2: Square the sum of the Earth's radius and the eyesight level.
  • Step 3: To calculate the distance to the horizon, subtract it from the square of the Earth's radius.
  • Step 4: Add the squares of the horizon distance, object distance, and Earth's radius.
  • Step 5: Subtract it from the product of the distance to the horizon and the distance to the object multiplied by two.
  • Step 6: To find the obstructed part, take the square root of the result and subtract it from the Earth's radius.

FAQs on Earth Curvature

1. What effect does the Earth's curvature have?

The beam can bend down substantially and even strike the earth in extreme circumstances where temperature rises with height and dry air overlays warm air (as is common around coastlines). This phenomenon is known as "anomalous propagation" by meteorologists.

2. What is the name of the earth's curvature?

The cumulative height frequency curve for the Earth's surface or a portion of it is known as the hypsometric curve. A hypsometric curve is a graph that plots relative area versus relative height to demonstrate the proportion of land area that exists at various elevations.

3. What is the curvature and refraction of the Earth?

Because of the curvature, the level surface of the earth is lower than the horizontal. Your line of sight will be lower than horizontal due to refraction, but not by as much as the curvature, thus it will not completely cancel out. The level surface ‘h’ is now below your line of sight.

4. How does the curvature of the Earth affect weather?

The latitude or distance from the equator affects the weather because of the Earth's curvature. The curvature of the globe causes temperature drops in certain areas.