# How much does the earth curve? Calculating curvature per mile

The Earth is a fascinating place with so much to learn about it. One of the questions that come up quite often among curious individuals is exactly how much the Earth curves. This is a valid question to ask, as it helps people better understand our planet and its physics. In this article, we will delve into how much the Earth curves, outlining various methods of measuring the curvature per mile.

## What exactly is Curvature?

Curvature is defined as the measure of how much a curve varies on a continuous surface, often known as the curvature radius.
This is also a definition used when measuring the curvature of the Earth. It is important to note that the curvature of the Earth is not visible to the naked eye, making it impossible for individuals to see the curve on a daily basis.
Despite this, the curvature can be mathematically calculated and measured by professionals.

## The Basics of the Curve Measurement

In order to measure the curvature of the Earth, the degrees of angles of arcs in a minute (60 seconds) are used. Specifically, one degree consists of 60 arc minutes or 3600 arc seconds.
For simplicity, arc seconds are commonly used to measure the curvature of the Earth, as it allows for more precise calculations.

### What is an Arc Second?

An arc second is a unit of angular measurement, and one of the ways to measure the curvature of the Earth.
One arc second has a length of around 101 feet on Earth, which means that a standard trampoline of 14-16 feet in diameter measures around 1 arc minute.
This means that 60 arc seconds are equivalent to 1 arc minute.

## Measuring the Earth’s Curvature per Mile

### The Bedford Level Experiment

One popular experiment used to determine the Earth’s curvature per mile is the Bedford Level Experiment.
This experiment was conducted by Samuel Birley Rowbotham, an inventor from England in the 19th century.
The experiment took place on the Bedford Level, which is a six-mile long stretch of the Old Bedford River located in Cambridgeshire, England.
The experiment was conducted by placing markers at both ends of the river, and then sighting them with a telescope.
The observations were made both above and below the water level and it was observed that the bottom of the markers that were further away were not visible when observed through the telescope from the other side of the River when the curvature of the Earth was taken into consideration.
This is a classic experiment which suggests that there is indeed a curve in the Earth’s surface.

### The Geodetic Method

Another popular method to determine the curvature of the Earth is the Geodetic Method.
Satellites are used along with other sophisticated technology to make the precise measurements required to determine the curvature of the Earth to an exact degree.
The Geodetic Method takes into consideration the Earth’s shape and its relation to gravity, allowing scientists to calculate the Earth’s curvature with pinpoint accuracy.

### The Surveying Method

Another commonly used method to calculate the curvature of the Earth is the surveying method.
The method involves surveying a long, straight line on the Earth’s surface, measuring the distance between the two endpoints, and then observing the curvature between the two points.
The curvature will be measured as a percentage, and it will be used to determine the Earth’s curvature per mile.

## The Earth’s Curvature per Mile: What the Numbers Say

The measurement of the curvature of the Earth per mile varies based on a number of factors including the location, the method used to measure, and the equipment used to measure it.
However, the average curvature measurement per mile is expected to be about 8 inches or 20 centimeters.
This means that for every mile, there is a drop of approximately 8 inches or 20 centimeters.
However, it is important to note that the exact drop will vary based on the initial height of the observer’s location, as well as the equipments, and methods used to measure.

## FAQs About Measuring the Earth’s Curvature

Here are some of the commonly asked questions about measuring the Earth’s curvature per mile, along with their answers:

• Q: Can you see the curvature of the Earth?

A: No, it is not possible to see the curvature of the Earth with the naked eye,
as the curvature is not pronounced enough on a small scale.

• Q: How was the curvature of the Earth discovered?

A: The discovery of the curvature of the Earth can be attributed to the scientific community,
who used mathematics and measurement techniques to ascertain the curve.
Several experiments, like the Bedford Level Experiment, were used to measure the curvature.

• Q: How much does the Earth curve per mile?

A: The curvature of the Earth per mile is roughly 8 inches or 20 centimeters,
but it can vary based on different factors.

• Q: How accurate are the measurements of the curvature?

A: Modern-day technology, like GPS and satellites, has made it possible to measure the curvature of the Earth more accurately than in the past.
While errors can still occur, the level of accuracy is generally high.

• Q: How can the curvature of the Earth be used?

A: Knowledge of the curvature of the Earth is essential in several fields, including engineering, surveying, astronomy, and navigation.
Without understanding the curve of the Earth, it would be difficult to navigate or survey the land effectively.

## Conclusion

Measuring the curvature of the Earth is an important aspect of understanding our planet’s physical characteristics.
While this article has only scratched the surface of the different methods and factors involved with measuring the curvature,
it is evident that the understanding of the Earth and its curvature has played a crucial role in various scientific fields.
The average curvature measurement per mile may be around 8 inches, but this can vary significantly based on location, equipment, and methods used to measure.
Nevertheless, the importance of understanding the Earth’s curve cannot be overstressed.

## References

1. ‘Bedford Level experiment’ – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bedford_Level_experiment
2. ‘Curvature of the Earth’ – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curvature_of_the_Earth
3. ‘Understanding the Earth’s Curvature’ – https://science.sciencemag.org/content/313/5791/789