What's the Furthest You Can See on Earth?

The billboards will tell you that you can see seven states from atop Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga. However, three states meet where the mountain is, and when you look out from the summit, there are no boundary lines telling you what's out there. How far you can see from any particular place is normally limited by the curvature of the earth. Gaze out on a flat ocean or prairie land, and you can probably see about five kilometers away. However, if you are on top of a mountain, that sightline is exponentially longer. The same if you are looking at a faraway mountain jutting up from the earth. But air pollution also interferes with what we can see. The pandemic lockdown shut down factories and took so many vehicles off the streets, that one day people in Punjab were astonished that they could see the Himalayas, a sight that was normal for residents of the state some years ago when the air was cleaner.

There are other factors involved in how far one can see. Still, geographers have determined where the longest line of sight on earth is. Strangely, it is not the place where a person has actually taken the furthest photograph. Read about sightlines and where those places are at Amusing Planet.

(Image credit: Flickr user Sitoo)

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The longuest I remember and modestly photographed is the 84 miles between Mount Aigoual and Mount Ventoux, France. You have to plan it on a beautiful day after a rainy one.
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