The Highest Place on Earth (And, It's Not Mount Everest)
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December 29, 2009

The Highest Place on Earth (And, It's Not Mount Everest)

140035main_image_feature_479_ys_4 We all know that Mount Everest, at 29,035 feet above sea level, is the highest spot on our planet. Sir Edmound Hillary taught us that, right? Well, yes… that is unless we think about the word "highest" in a different way.

Think instead of that point on the planet closest to the moon and the stars, in other words to "out there."

According to Issac Newton, the centrifugal force of the Earth's spin will result in a slight flattening at the poles and bulging at the equator, which would make the planet slightly oblate. Mathematicians call this an "oblate spheroid," which means that anyone on the equator is already standing "higher," or closer to outer space, than people who aren't on the bulge.

The winner of the hightest point of Earth is Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador. Mount Chimborazo, in the Andes, is a 20,000-plus-foot peak sitting on top of a bulge on the Earth. Mount Everest is a 29,000-plus-foot peak sitting lower down on that same bulge. Because Chimborazo is a bump on a bigger part of the bulge, it is 1.5 miles higher than Everest!

Link

The Andes Vanishing Glaciers

Comments

Maybe I'm wrong, but isn't this oblate thing the same with the shape of the atmosphere?

So that would mean Chimborazo is higher in the atmosphere than Everest and the air would be thinner?

Sorry, I'm only referring to the german Wikipedia article.
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erdatmosph%C3%A4re
So, the most lower part of the atmosphere, the troposphere, sizes a height of 7km in the polar regions, but on the equator it is up to 17 high. Because of rotation/gravitation, the gases centre more at the earthes belt, I think. Same with the stratosphere 7/17-50, menosphere 50/80-... and so on. I not a pro, but I think it depends, where you define the beginning of space. Exosphere included? ...

Amateur speaking: with such a different height of the atmosphere, the plain northpole even beneath the ice is closer to space than every mountain on earth. (Or am I wrong?)

@drikkes
in a literal sense working on plain numbers of the variation of the atmosphere from north pole to equator, I would say yes, you are right in that going straight up from the north pole one would encounter space slightly sooner than the equator.

However distance from space itself and relative high of the earth is two different things. If in a thought experiement you drew the outline of the real earth and super impose on that image an outline of the avereage height of the earth, you would find that the heights of the ice in both poles would be lower than that of the equator.

It's only due to increased gravity at the poles/rotation of the earth that the relative height of the atmosphere is less.

To summarize:
Yes ice would be closer to space at the poles than at the equator but it would not be the highest points on the Earth.

Yep, learned this from Neil Degrass Tyson, in Death by Black hole. Glad to see someone post it though.

Naturally distances are with respect to some reference point. You can take it to be mean sea level or you can choose the center of moon. It is all relative. No special significance can thus be attached to such numbers to represent the height or width, etc...
One may as well chose the center of earth or any other reference point!

Would this not be a great place to construct the terrestrial part of a space elevator, or would it have to be right on the Equator ?

I love and am used to keeping a distance with those changed things.Only in this way can I know what will not be abandoned by time. Forexample, when you love someone, changes are all around. Then I stepbackward and watching it silently, then I see the true feelings.

I love and am used to keeping a distance with those changed things.Only in this way can I know what will not be abandoned by time. Forexample, when you love someone, changes are all around. Then I stepbackward and watching it silently, then I see the true feelings.

Wtihout a refernce point all disscustion is 'Relatve',hence subjictive meaning there is no right or wrong answer.


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