Longest lines of sight photographed.......

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Iron Hiker

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Longest lines of sight photographed.......

by Iron Hiker » Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:34 pm

Greetings from a longtime lurker on this site who has followed it from its infancy........

I know this topic has come up every now and then on various websites......this is one I like to look into as a little hobby: What is the farthest you can see from one place to another?

I was surfing some photos of Mount Rainier on here and discovered this remarkable recently-posted view from Brunswick Mountain in British Columbia, north of Vancouver:

http://www.summitpost.org/view_object.p ... _id=486827

According to the website www.heywhatsthat.com, the straight-line distance on the map between the two peaks is approximately 195 miles. The red "visibility cloak" confirms that Brunswick and Rainier are intervisible with each other, and it may also be possible to see Rainier from even farther away (ex. Mt. Garibaldi).

I also saw another photo on the other side of Rainier, from near Pendleton, Oregon - in the Blue Mountains:

http://www.summitpost.org/view_object.p ... _id=340670

Although the first commenter said it had to be Mount Adams, I don't really have a doubt that this is indeed Rainier (the shape of the top seems about right). The view is about 175 miles.......and is also confirmed by heywhatsthat.com. Check the "Mount Rainier" panorama on that site to see the viewshed I generated as well as the "Rainier from Pendleton" pano. (I also have panoramas I generated from many other big mts that I haven't made public yet).

There was recently a discussion about the view from Mount Whitney and the current record for longest line of sight photo in the lower 48 states, 190 miles to San Gorgonio Mountain:

http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/forum ... #Post59014

Although the Brunswick photo is taken from a peak in Canada into the USA, may I humbly submit that we might have a contender here to unseat the San Gorgonio photo?

Of course, as www.viewfinderpanoramas.org shows, the longest line of sight photo in the entire USA is from Mount Sanford to Denali in Alaska, 221 miles (though Rainier seems capable of 200+ mile views too)......

So I'll throw this out there and see what we come up with. I would love to see different people make their own submissions and start racing up peaks with telephoto camera zoom lens to set new photographed line of sight records :wink: Being only a poor student, I am unable to engage in such pursuits myself...... :(

Having said that, we really should hope that www.viewfinderpanoramas.org expands more into America.....it's one of my favorite sites and there's a lot of potential there!

Thanks everyone.......
Last edited by Iron Hiker on Sun Mar 29, 2009 2:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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T. White

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by fortybelow » Sun Mar 29, 2009 12:01 am

hey this is such a great topic! I've always wondered what the greatests line of sight is!

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by MoapaPk » Sun Mar 29, 2009 2:43 am

I can see Russia from my house.

At some point, the curvature of the earth gets in the way. With simple geometry, you can determine if two points can really see each other. This calculation is left as an exercise for the student.

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by Corax » Sun Mar 29, 2009 3:04 am

I can't compete with the distances mentioned above, but on the Tibetan plateau, especially in the northern areas in fall and winter it's not unusual you have views of over a hundred kilometers. At one point we had a line of sight of close to 200km. The target peak may look like it's close by, but in reality it can be two weeks away.

Perhaps Jonathan joins this thread.

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by Rhane Pfeiffer » Sun Mar 29, 2009 3:15 am

I love the cascades, and miss views like that now that i am out in North Carolina.
I have a couple pictures i took from on top of South Sister in the Oregon Cascades that you can see Mt Rainier from, and i think that is close to 190mi.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rhane/3722 ... 430849697/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rhane/3722 ... 430849697/
Also on the same day you could see Mt Shasta in the other Direction, and i think that is a similar distance.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rhane/3722 ... 430849697/
It was a pretty spectacular clear day. I hope that these are interesting to you.

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Iron Hiker

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Thanks for the South Sister views!

by Iron Hiker » Sun Mar 29, 2009 3:35 am

Great photos - impressive clarity. The first two pics are indeed of Rainier, and that is 190 miles away exactly.......(which ties with the Whitney/San Gorgonio photo :D ).

However, I am very sure that Mount Shasta is NOT visible in the other photo - the mountain is clearly too close. It is most likely Mount Scott above Crater Lake (83 miles away). Ironically, Shasta is actually closer to South Sister than Rainier (187 miles). I believe you JUST MISSED IT off the very left end of the photo (Aspen Butte slope must be the slight hazy ridge at the edge, and Shasta would be just to its left). Good work though.

Let's keep the inquiries/photos coming. It's fun stuff!

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by calebEOC » Sun Mar 29, 2009 5:00 am

I have been constantly amazed with some of the distances you can see looking west from the Blue Mountains. I've seen from Jefferson to Rainier from Indian Rock which is just NE of Prairie City in central eastern oregon, and the guy manning the lookout on Mt Ireland in the Elkhorns told me Rainier was visible from there. I wouldnt be surprised in the least to see Rainier from the Wallowas.

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by Iron Hiker » Sun Mar 29, 2009 6:34 am

Yes, I am aware of the incredible possibility of seeing Rainier from eastern Oregon. Heywhatsthat supports your assertion that Mount Ireland is in Rainier's viewshed, and it is 215 miles away! Even in the Wallowas a few "red" spots show up on the visibility cloak, mostly along the Hurricane Divide/Twin Peaks Ridge (237/8 miles away). Sacajawea Peak itself has the tiniest little "red dot," meaning that Rainier would most likely be only visible through binoculars/telescope from there. It's 240 miles away. I'd encourage any Wallowa enthusiasts to go up the Twin Peaks ridge on the best of days and try Rainier out.....it would be seen by looking to the right of Mount Emily in the Blue Mountains. Though it seems the rock is horrid up there from looking at the SP page.....but plenty of different opportunities on that ridge to get the line of sight. It'd prob be harder to see the Wallowas from Rainier, that's for sure!!!

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by Iron Hiker » Sun Mar 29, 2009 6:47 am

By the way, looking at the Twin Peaks viewshed, it seems you can see BOTH Adams and Rainier from the Wallowas. Now that is sure something!

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Greg Enright

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by Greg Enright » Sun Mar 29, 2009 7:01 pm

I've often wondered how far you could see the White Mountains from the Great Basin ranges in Nevada. Looks like 'only' 159 miles east to Troy Peak from Boundary Peak, from which you can also see Mt Rose near Reno at 134 miles and Charlston near Vegas at 153.

Speaking of Charlston, what a head spinning view there as you can 'see' the summit of Morgan north above Crowley Lake at 191 miles, turn your noggin to see Gooseberry Point near Cedar Breaks at 181 miles and look over your shoulder to see Toro Peak south of Palm Springs at 194 miles. I bet Harlan can see even farther when he does one of those summit leaps.

I am a little surprised that you can't see Mt Diablo from Shasta. Does that little bump near Dunnigan really block that 244 mile view?

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by DudeThatMustHurt » Mon Mar 30, 2009 3:08 am

MoapaPk wrote:I can see Russia from my house.

Care to share a photo of this? I'd like to see

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Alex Wood

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by Alex Wood » Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:31 am

Someone once told me you could see Charleston Peak (NV) from Sam Antonio (Mt Baldy), San Gorgonio or San Jacinto? Is that true?

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Iron Hiker

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by Iron Hiker » Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:00 am

www.viewfinderpanoramas.org has panos from Charleston Peak, Mount Whitney, Mount Diablo, Mount Washington (NH), and a few others. But we do need more American representation on that site...... It also has a gallery of panos with their photo counterparts alongside (like the 221 mile view to Denali from Sanford).

www.heywhatsthat.com is a great site to generate American panorama viewsheds. Outside the USA, it's somewhat less accurate, but I've still used it to get a general idea of what other countries might have. Basically, you make sure the cursor is pinpointed over the highest part of the mountain (perhaps substitute the actual elevation at times), then generate it.

My hope is that we can get a whole bunch of stuff up and begin comparing actual photos with what these two websites can generate.......

I'll throw out some line of sight challenges for us Americans to photograph, based on my research:

1. In the East, Camel's Hump in VT is intervisible with Black Dome Mountain in the Catskills, just over 150 miles away. We need a pic of this.

2. Mount LeConte, in the Smokies, from Garden Mtn, VA - about 150 miles, this is the longest Southeast USA view I've discovered to date.

3. From the Colorado Plateau, Utah - the Fish Lake Hightop complex (including Terrill, Marvine, and Hilgard) to Mount Wilson in the San Juans (about 200 miles). This may be the longest American Rockies view.

4. Sierra Blanca, NM, to Truchas Peak in the Sangres (about 185 miles). Lots of good long range views from that one.

5. Good one: Devil's Tower, WY from Cloud Peak in the Bighorns. That would be neat to capture (with a REALLY big zoom lens!). By the way, Cloud Peak in general has one of the longest viewsheds in the American Rockies, because of its isolation.

The Cascade volcanoes win the biggest prize in the lower 48 simply because of their height and isolation. If we can nab a pic of Rainier from the Wallowas, that will in all likelihood be the unbeatable one for line-of-sight. But really anything above 150 miles is superb.

Let's try to get some of the experts on here as well as some more pics. Thanks again for all the suggestions so far!

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by Cascade Scrambler » Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:57 am

Check this link out to determine your distance from the peak you're on to the horizon. Don't make the same mistake I made, recognize that it's all in metric!


Very interesting project. I'll be interested to see just how far from Rainier I can get and still see it.

Please note: the link I mention only calculates the theoretical distance between the height of an object and the horizon. It does not calculate the theoretical distance between two peaks. (And is thus, slightly off topic.)

Edited to reflect that fact that I don't know the difference between standard and metric!
Last edited by Cascade Scrambler on Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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by atavist » Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:01 am

I don't know the distance, but I could see Sa Clemente Island and San Nicolas Island last time I was on San Gabriel Peak. That is getting close to 100 miles - and there should be some bonus miles for cutting through the Socal smog.

But if you want maximum line of sight distance, I saw the sun today, which is 1 AU away. And I'm pretty sure some stars are farther than that.


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