The remark is common enough that we can see the circle of the Earth if we cross the ocean, and that this proves it to be round. Now, if we tie a donkey to a stake on a level common, and he eats the grass all around him, it is only a circular disc that he has to do with, not a spherical mass. Since, then, circular discs may be seen anywhere - as well from a balloon in the air as from the deck of a ship, or from the standpoint of the donkey, it is a proof that the surface of the Earth is a plane surface, and, therefore, a proof that the Earth is not a globe.
For most media and angles of incidence, the light transmits from one medium to the other. However, when passing from a medium of higher index of refraction into a medium of lower index of refraction at a sufficiently high angle of incidence, there may not be a real value for the angle of refraction. When this happens, the light cannot pass into the second medium. Instead, the light is reflected off the interface and back into the first medium. We call this phenomenon total internal reflection. Many devices make use of total internal reflection. Total internal reflection allows a prism with two 45-degree angles and one 90-degree angle to reflect light at a right angle. One could use a mirror mounted at a 45-degree angle to do the same thing, but total internal reflection is nearly 100% efficient, while the best mirrors are perhaps 85% efficient. Many optical devices, such as binoculars and periscopes, make use of this. Fiber optics are thin wires of glass. Being so thin, fiber optics are flexible and as easy to handle as any metal wire. Glass has a relatively high index of refraction, so light shining down a fiber optic is totally reflected internally by the walls of the fiber optic, if the fiber optic is not bent too sharply. We use fiber optics every day with telephone, cable TV, and internet connections.
78) From Anchorage, Alaska at an elevation of 102 feet, on clear days Mount Foraker can be seen with the naked eye 120 miles away. If Earth were a ball 25,000 miles in circumference, Mount Foraker’s 17,400 summit should be leaning back away from the observer covered by 7,719 feet of curved Earth. In reality, however, the entire mountain can be quite easily seen standing straight from base to summit.
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