A Little Close

Go to this satellite image and zoom in on London’s Russell Square to see something a bit scary. I certainly don’t recall seeing anything coming in quite that low when I was staying in that neighbourhood. (I’d be less surprised if it were San Diego.)


I just thought of a possible explanation. It has to do with the way perspective works in photographs taken at great distances. But I don’t know enough about the subject to know whether it applies in this case.

5 Responses to A Little Close

  1. lukas June 11, 2011 at 2:30 am #

    It’s aerial photography, not a satellite image. Anything that is thousands of feet above the ground will come out looking all weird.

  2. Black Bloke June 11, 2011 at 8:07 am #

    Judging by the out-of-proportion size, the plane is pretty high above the ground and building tops. A good catch though.

  3. Brandon June 11, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    The aircraft is pointed at Gatwick Airport, although not at any of its runways. Check out images of that airport or Heathrow to see how big a 777 would be on the ground and you’ll see the perspective difference.

  4. chris June 11, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    it’s doesn’t seem to be as low as it looks, as i cant find it’s shadow.you can see the shadows form the trees and buildings, but not the plane.

  5. Roderick June 13, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    Here’s the perspective trick I had in mind that might explain why the plane looks bigger than it is. But I’m not sure what the relative angles would be in this case — certainly not the degree of disparity one has with the moon.

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