Q&A: 937-640-1040 Mon-Fri 9:00am-5:30pm EDT

Viewing up to 50 miles away

We are searching for the best model to purchase for a deck view….we just purchased a home in Panama and want to be able to see the island where our son fishes which is about 46-50 miles …34 by land and 12 by sea – I was looking at telescopes when I found you on a google search. Do you have a model that would see that far that is on a mount …and not for the “professional”??  Thank you.

One of our Long-Range Observation binoculars would be the best choice for long distance viewing.  Using both eyes adds perspective and depth perception to the view, while a telescope presents a very “flat” view.  These are truly the world’s most powerful binoculars, however, 45-50 miles is very distant, and the curvature of the earth over that distance will come into play.  If you are standing on the beach looking out over the water, the horizon is only 3 miles away due to the curvature of the earth.  You have to be standing higher than sea level and/or your target must be higher than sea level to be able to see farther than 3 miles.  There is a formula to determine how far the horizon is, based on the observer’s height above sea level.  The formula is Distance (in miles) = 1.2246*SQRT(Height in feet).  So let’s assume your deck is 200 ft. about sea level.  The square root of 200 is 14.14.  Multiply that by 1.2246, and you get 17.3 miles.
Of course you’ll still want the binocular for your deck view, but unless you’re particularly high up, and/or there are features on the island that are very tall, you probably won’t be able to see the island simply due to earth’s curvature.  Let me know if you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them.
Kevin Busarow

Hi Kevin,
This is super! We are actually at 4200 ft. above sea level.  Don’t know how to do that square foot thing…but knowing the altitude and the distance to the sea (35) miles…Island is about 12 more miles….what is your recommendation for binoculars…also would be great to look at stars too…but would love to know the distance.  What do you think?

From that height, the horizon is 79 miles away.  Over that distance, you’ll need perfect atmospheric conditions to get a really clear view- so some days will be better than others.
The 25/40×100 Long-Range Observation binocular that I mentioned earlier would be great for this.  But if you are interested in binocular astronomy, as well as looking out across the water, you should consider our BT-100-45.  It has 45-degree viewing, which is much more comfortable for your neck when viewing the night sky.  When viewing to the horizon, you’ll be looking down into the binocular at a 45-degree angle- but that’s quite comfortable.  It also means the binocular can sit lower on the tripod, and is more accommodating of people of different heights.  Just set the tripod height for the shortest person, and taller people can just bend over a bit more to view through it.  The BT-100-45 is also capable of even greater magnification than the 25/40×100 using our optional 75x eyepieces.  But note that these binoculars are not weatherproof.  You should set this up indoors looking out through a big window to your view.  Take it outside only in nice weather, and for night sky observation of course.  Let me know if you have more questions.


35 Replies to “Viewing up to 50 miles away”

  1. Andrew says:

    This is nonsense. “the curvature of the earth comes into play after 3 miles.” I call BS! I can see ground level features of the Toronto skyline clear across Lake Ontario from Ft. Niagara, NY on a clear day from the beach. That’s 40 miles across, from that distance there should be 1066 feet of curvature obscuring ANY of the Toronto skyline (yet I see it quite clearly with the naked eye.) The earth is flat dude!

    1. Kevin Busarow says:

      No, you cannot see ground level features in Toronto from the Ft. Niagara beach. Toronto is roughly 300′ above sea level, Ft. Niagara beach is 275′ above sea level, and Lake Ontario is 243′ above sea level. They are 34 miles apart, but you could only see ground-level if they were 11 miles apart. There are around 20 buildings in Toronto over 700′, so you certainly could see the tops of those. You could also see higher elevation ground to the north of the city, behind the tops of the buildings, so it might look like a shoreline/skyline at that distance- but you’re not seeing any Toronto ground-level features. But if you believe the earth is shaped like a pizza, then you already know the fake math is NASA’s contribution to the government cover-up.

      1. Jose says:

        Obviously, you cant see all the ground features because there are hills and valleys between both locations. The Sea and Lakes are the best proof as at most your only contending with Waves.

        The original commend stands. you should not be able to see that much… and its not the only area showing this proof. Open your eyes and you will see. otherwise, stay closed minded and only do and see what you are told.. easy way out for many is the only way to live…

      2. Kevin Busarow says:

        “The original comment stands”? Are you Andrew or Jose? If I was trying to convince people the earth was shaped like a pizza, I wouldn’t use my real name either. I’ve traveled the globe (the round globe) by jet, including the polar route numerous times- but I’ve never seen the edge of the pizza. Is that a restricted area?

      3. Mark says:

        lol. lots of idiots out there!!

      4. Wendell Walton says:

        Well… we were able to see across 13.25 miles of ocean down at the water level with a mirror flash that can only be seen with line-of-sight. With a camera height of 3 ft. even the Metabunk Earth Curve Calculator estimates the Refracted Hidden Height at 68.65 Feet–meaning nearly 70 ft. of water “bulge” should have blocked the mirror flash. If you want to see the video, go to Flat Reality Earth Explorers channel on YouTube and look for the Monterey Bay Observation. You’ll see a great white shark that breached the water too! And if you’re a man of faith, the Bible teaches that the earth is flat and stationary with over 200 verses. Just sayin’ —

    2. Rodney says:

      Lmfbo okie dokie Columbus

    3. Greg says:

      Where is you brain, I think you may have lost it somewhere. Take a minute to think about what you’re saying. You’re saying that every one and their mother lies about the Earth being a globe. Why would they spend trillions of dollars on something that foolish. We can do basic math and even use lights to determine that the Earth isn’t flat, heck we can even use helicopters and boats as well as planes to determine that isn’t true. Here’s an even better one, use a telescope on ground level and try to look a straight line to a place that is on the other side of the planet, oh wait you can’t. Doesn’t hurt to try and record anything evidence you find.

      1. Z says:

        “USE YOUR BRAIN!! Me and everyone else believe the earth is round so it must be round!”

        Is this seriously what you use as proof…?

      2. A says:


        You lack reading comprehension if that is the only thing you understood in that post. A lot of flat-Earthers have below-average IQ, so no surprise here.

      3. Amin says:

        Flat-Earthers ignore the fact that when you look at a distant ship in the sea, you see the ship’s top first and the rest of it after it came nearer. Something Eratosthenus found and made him think of in about 2000 years ago!

  2. Don says:

    How do flatearthers explain Star trails? …you can clearly see that the earth is round on any given night with a camera on Polaris

    1. Flatearthertexas says:

      The earth is FLAT!

      1. Amin says:

        Have you ever seen a distant approaching ship in the sea? You will see its top first and when it comes closer you will see more of it. What does it mean?
        By the way, If the Earth was flat, cats would be able to put everything off of it to space at the edges!
        Also, if the Earth was flat, how would you explain the sunset and/or sunrise?

  3. Jim McGregor says:

    Kevin Busarow is telling only a half-truth. When Kevin says you can only see 3 miles when at sea level, in general he is correct that is the approximate limitation to seeing over distance to the horizon, but it’s not due to earth’s curvature – he’s getting that info from Wikipedia’s talking points, or some handbook from their company or whatever. But it is the approximate distance to the horizon – but what he left out is that is with the UNAIDED EYE. This is because at approximately that distance, lines of convergence result in becoming a tangent or a point on the horizon. For comparison, let’s all remember what the definition of the word “horizon” is: “the line at which the earth’s surface and the sky appear to meet”. Notice it does not say that they do meet, and notice it does not say that it’s because the earth curve’s downward and away from you due to being a globe. It’s just a line where they appear to meet, and this is because of how distance and perspective work.

    However, by using any high-powered zoom tool, let’s say for example Nikon’s P900 coolpix camera, when you are in fact at sea level right on the shore, or even when you place the camera a couple feet above the water at the shore ( a height of only 2-feet above sea level ) – after a boat has disappeared MORE THAN 3 miles, like 10-miles, using the zoom on your camera you can pull the boat back into view, including seeing it touch the water at the bottom of the boat. This type of test has been done dozens-to-hundreds of times over just the last 5 years and it is with complete ignorance that people like Kevin state that it is “due to earth’s curvature you can’t see more than 3 miles at that height” – with the unaided eye, true, but with the AIDED EYE the same type of camera I mentioned can zoom out enough to make islands that are over 50 miles away become visible. The fact that you can zoom the boat back into view at a mere 10-miles proves there is NO CURVATURE. And we know how much curvature is required (not optional) due to the Pythagorean Theorem. In fact because of the Pythagorean Theorem we also have what are called “curvature calculators” which also factor in the height of the observer. At a mere distance of 10-miles there should be approx 66.5 feet of curvature going away from you. 66.5 feet is more than enough curvature to completely hide a 2-story house and it’s roof and chimney. This means it would impossible to zoom 10-miles out across the water at sea level (much less at 2-feet above the water) and pull the boat back into view, because if curvature existed, all you would be zooming into would be to the top of a bulge of downward curving water, and you can’t see around/past the curve can you? Yet we can pull in objects 10-miles or further into view at sea level, which in reality, means that the curvature is missing. It’s missing because there is no curvature. The larger problem with this fact, is that if the curvature is missing in so many places as you view across the water, in order for the earth to be a globe means we must make up for the curvature someplace else: in effect, the curvature has to “double down” in a bunch of other places to make up for this missing curvature. Kevin, I welcome you, or anyone else, to indicate to us where the missing curvature is “doubling down” someplace else to make up for this? It sounds stupid – because it is stupid, and in fact, there is no curvature that “doubles down” someplace else, it would be too easy to find it with 7+Billion people running around with zoom cameras all over the earth, we would be tripping over it, it would have been discovered, and they would have made a documentary about it. You don’t know what you are talking about. Maybe one day you will become curious enough to instead of throwing out “talking points” you’ve heard elsewhere, take your equipment to the sea or large lake ( at least 10-miles across ) and try the zoom test for yourself and see if you’re talking points still work.

    So it’s obvious the Kevin is simply a salesman for a product, he has not actually used the equipment he sells at sea level. He is not a physics major or an astronomer or a math major and does not understand how much curvature exists based on the Pythagorean Theorem.

    1. Kevin Busarow says:

      Interesting that you invoke the Pythagorean Theorem to prove the earth is flat when it was Pythagoras that is credited with determining that the earth is a sphere about 2300 years ago. I’ve been an amateur astronomer for over 30 years. From that experience, there are so many proofs and affirmations that the earth is not flat that I don’t know where to begin. How do you explain the different views of the night sky from different parts of the earth? Lunar eclipses? The Great American Eclipse of 2017 (we traveled to Russellville, KY to be in the path of totality). And yes- I’ve used Oberwerk binocular telescopes to observe the other spherical planets in our solar system. I’ve also used our products at oceanfront locations many times (product photo shoots makes a vacation a tax write-off), and yes- I’ve observed ships slowly disappear (as if they were sinking) over the horizon. I’ve also flown the polar route to China numerous times- hours and hours of nothing but ice. Were we actually flying around the perimeter of the firmament? How inefficient would that be- no wonder it takes so long to get there! I attended a presentation by astronaut Scott Kelly talking about his year in space- where he showed hundreds of his amazing photos. I know- he’s a liar and those photos are all fake- right?

      1. Wendell Walton says:

        And yet when we did a mirror observation at Monterey Bay over 13.25 miles, we could see it clearly right down on the beach! Even the Metabunk Earth Curve Calculator gave a REFRACTED Hidden Height of nearly 70 ft. Go to Flat Reality Earth Explorers on YouTube to watch the video for yourself as well as many other observations at Salton Sea. The proof is out there if you want to be intellectually honest. There are a lot of answers for your questions, and there are some we simply don’t know yet. Start with looking for the curve, and do your own research. Just because we can’t explain, for example, how exactly some astronomical events happen, doesn’t negate the fact that there is no curve. The heliocentric model has already been debunked by the Plank, COBE, and WMAP probes, as well as Airy’s Failure, and the Michaelson/Morely experiments. It’s a deep dive and I wish you luck!

      2. MyRealNameIsBen says:

        Just buy the product and see for yourselves. Youtube is helpful in many ways. But it is also full of trolls.

        Buy it
        Try it
        See Facts through YOUR eyes. Not someone you do not even know on youtube. Lol. People using youtube as a credible source is hillarriouusssss.
        Yes nasa uses photoshop.
        So do people on youtbube……

      3. Matt Harvey says:

        If anyone could possibly think that the earth is flat is just a complete idiot. Those people are what’s wrong with this world today. They are so many leaks that come out of the government everyday but everyone that knows the earth is really flat has kept their mouth shut. Do you really think that would really happen. Where the hell does the sun go at night? Never mind I shouldn’t even ask questions because I’m sure the idiots have some stupid explanation for everything. I hate stupid people so much. So many people would have kept this lie up for so long and for what? What’s the point in someone lying about it.

    2. Rusty says:

      Is this a joke or do you really believe the earth is flat? Note that nobody has even mentioned atmospheric refraction yet.

    3. Yin Yang says:

      So stupid. You don’t measure curvature with the Pythagorean Theorem just like you don’t using a straightedge ruler to measure your waist, although I bet you use it to measure the girth of your p*nis to come up with some crazy idea that you have an infinitely huge d***. Oh and just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. For instance, you haven’t seen your tiny d*** for a long time because of your fat gut, does that mean it you don’t have one? Well no obviously, just that you cant see it because your globe of a fatbody is blocking your line of sight. You know, with it’s curvature. That you didn’t use the pythagorean theorem to calculate. SMH…

  4. Don says:

    No one still hasn’t explained Star trails yet. It clearly debunks flat earthers. Step away from the keyboard and observe the night sky for truth

    1. Kevin Busarow says:

      More regarding that in this article by Dr. Danny Faulkner, from the Christian website “Answers in Genesis.” He absolutely destroys several flat-earth arguments-
      In fact there are dozens of articles on this website debunking flat earth- just search “flat earth” on their site. Their summary- “Popular today due to Internet videos, the idea of a flat earth lacks both biblical and scientific support and shows a faulty understanding of history. Flat-earth arguments are generally a misrepresentation or misinterpretation of the evidence. Both science and the Bible confirm beyond doubt the earth is a sphere.”

      1. Sharon Elaine Peterson says:

        Kevin, let me start by saying that your photographs are AWESOME!! This is my first time to your site and I LOVE IT!! Thank you so much for sharing your expertise!

        About this ancillary subject that has been raised…

        I’d like to see the Biblical confirmation of a spherical earth. I have been studying this subject in my King James Bible for the past 3 years to see what the Creator has to say about His own creation. (After all, He should know, right?) I have yet to find one single verse, phrase or word that would even hint at a spherical earth. The one verse that is cited frequently to support the idea of a spherical earth is Isaiah 40:22, “…it is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth…” That notion is negated by the fact that Isaiah uses the word “ball” (the only use of this word in the KJB) in 22:18. Clearly, Isaiah was familiar with both geometric shapes and the Holy Spirit inspired him to use the word circle and not ball.

        I recently put together a tri-fold brochure entitled, “The Creator’s Testimony About His Creation”, where I cited 140 verses that affirm things like…

        The earth is compared to a building with a foundation that was LAID and a line stretched upon it. Job 38 Psalm 104 Isaiah 48 (Why does a builder stretch a line on something?)
        It has a cornerstone and pillars supporting it. 1 Samuel 2 Psalm 75
        God began with a water foundation Genesis 1:2 (water lays flat) and laid a compass (circle) upon it. Proverbs 8
        The term “face of the earth” is used 29 times – “Face” is a geometrical term indicating flatness.
        The earth is compared to a clay seal in Job 38:14. Similar to a wax seal on an envelope. Google Image search “ancient clay seal” – very enlightening
        The earth is called God’s footstool. Picture that one! Isaiah 66 Matthew 5 Acts 7
        The earth is said to be “stablished that it cannot be moved” Psalm 93 1 Chronicles 16 Psalm 96
        The sun’s motion is referenced 69 times in the Scriptures. Ecclesiastes 1 Psalm 19
        The moon gives her own light. Isaiah 13 1 Corinthians 15
        The stars will fall TO THE EARTH. Revelation 6 & 12 (How big are those stars???)
        The heavens are compared to a tent and a curtain Isaiah 40 Psalm 104
        The location of heaven is ALWAYS referred to as UP. What direction is UP on a sphere?
        And many, many more….
        PLEASE….show me your ball earth verses. I’m open!

        Let me be clear….my stance is strictly Biblical. I do NOT purport to know or be able to explain all of the details of the inner & outer workings of heaven and earth. In fact, God himself asks Job, “Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?” (38:33) The emphatic answer to these rhetorical questions is a resounding “NO!” Furthermore, the implication is that it is humanly impossible to figure it all out.

        Some say it’s all metaphorical. Well, Titus 1:2 affirms that God CANNOT lie. Therefore, I conclude that God cannot give a blatantly false description of nor a misleading metaphor for His creation in order to accommodate our limited and imperfect perception of reality.

        While the observable physical evidence and our every day experience is demonstrably consistent with God’s description of His creation, my position is a FAITH position…I believe GOD! The prevailing cosmology is also a faith position…you believe Modern Science. Satan is the father of lies (John 8) and he is good at it! He has used Modern Science (better called, “Scientism” as it has become a religion unto itself) to relegate God’s special creation (Earth and man) to an infinitesimal speck in an insignificant galaxy in a universe of unimaginable proportions that is continuing to expand in all directions at a rate exceeding the speed of light…and thereby relegating Heaven, where God dwells, (which God says is above the earth) to some other dimension…if it exists at all. For more information on this concept, I highly recommend Celebrate Truth’s videos called Scientism Exposed, Parts 1 & 2. They’re available on Youtube.

        The foregoing information is respectfully submitted for your consideration. I welcome responses or questions as to what the Bible says about the size and structure of heaven and earth. I will not debate star trails, curvature or things of that nature. Do your own physical research.

  5. I’m interested in this telescope can you send me more on it

    1. Kevin Busarow says:

      This article, and subsequent thread, are now 2 years old. Since then, the XL Series binocular telescopes have changed everything. For most of our customers, these are the ultimate instruments for terrestrial or astronomical viewing- there is no reason to look at anything else.

  6. Behzad Gazder says:

    Hi Kevin,
    Interesting thread…
    We just got an apartment on the 40th floor overlooking the sea and I can see a distant shoreline which i know is about 25kms away. Would like to observe it better and was wondering what sort of scope should I invest in?

    Am sure I would point the thing at the moon at some point.
    As it is still a new hobby, I wouldn’t want to spend too much. ( no more than $200 to 300 for now)

    Would also like to check out the edges of the pizza crust to see if its done yet 😉

    1. Kevin Busarow says:

      Hi Behzad,
      For your view, and in your price range, I’d recommend the Oberwerk 20x80LW ($199). At just 4 lbs., it’s possible to hand-hold it in daylight, but 20x magnification is hard to hold steady, so it would be best to mount it on the Oberwerk 3000 tripod ($149). You’d also need the Oberwerk Heavy-Duty L Adapter ($14.95).

  7. Mr.Steve says:

    The earth is round… but water is flat… water cannot “bend”. You can see for MILES across water.

    1. Kevin Busarow says:

      Water that we visually observe appears to be flat. But because it’s gravitationally attracted to a large sphere, it’s not flat- it bends along with the sphere.

      1. John Doe says:

        That makes sense. Since the earth is spinning at about 1000 miles per hour and is traveling over 600 miles per hour…It just stands to reason that water is being pulled towards it center or pushed due to gravity at a strong enough psi to keep 5-10 miles deep of water on the surface of the globe. Thank you for your insight we are blessed to have your knowledge freely dispersed to us.

  8. Nolan says:

    All I wanted was to learn about telescopes…Now, my life has changed forever.

  9. Chris says:

    I live on the shore 75 ft above sea level is what I’ve determined from a few websites. Seems correct. I can see the west point lighthouse, which is 30km away as the crow flies. I can also see the street light at the wharf near the lighthouse. I can also see the lighthouse in the day as a small blip most days and clearly on occasion. I want to a telescope to see this lighthouse and the local fishing boats clearly but have no idea which one to get

    1. Kevin Busarow says:

      Look at the XL Series binocular telescopes-
      Even the smallest, the BT-70XL-ED, is capable of up to 56x magnification, and would work nicely for your view.

  10. Brad Riggs says:

    Holy hell, not sure how I got here but being that I am I have a question for you flat people. why is it every time you guys try to use viewing something in the distance as your proof of the flat-earth how come it’s always within 50 miles? how come you guys don’t do that with something 500 miles away or 300 miles away even 200 miles away or hell even 150 miles away, how come you don’t stand on the west coast of Florida and try to pull in Mexico or go to Key West Florida and try to pull in Havana Cuba, if the Earth was truly flat it wouldn’t matter how far it is you would be able to see it with a high-powered telescope. I just think it’s funny that it’s always within 50 miles.

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