Eli5, if the earth isn’t perfectly round, why does it seem that way in pictures from space?


I’ve always asked this question but people don’t really know or just answer in ways I can’t really understand it so I was just wondering if somebody here knows why?

In: 0

If the Earth was the size of a billiard ball, it would smoother than a normal billiard ball. The out of roundness is too small to see with the human eye (or anything like it) from space.

The difference isn’t so great that you will notice it just by casually looking at photographs taken by space. Just like how you might draw a pretty darned good shape by hand that “looks perfect”, but when you start actually looking at it through a magnifying glass you start to see the imperfections.

Because it’s only very slightly oblate. Earth’s diameter at the equator is only 43km larger than at the poles, which is just about 1/3% of Earth’s diameter.

The short version is that the difference from the highest point (mt Everest) to the lowest (Marianna trench) is neglectable compared to the diameter of earth. There is a video of the science dude explaining it in more detail and better than I can. [click](https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=C69xx2bM8IA)

The Earth is an oblate spheroid, which is a fancy way of saying it’s a ball that’s slightly squished in the middle.

But the amount the equator sticks out by is tiny by comparison of its size

The Earth is 43km wider at the equator than the poles, but it is 12714km wide at the poles. So the difference is only .3%

If the Earth were the size of a basket ball the bulge would be 2mm.

The point being if you looked at it you probably couldn’t tell without measuring it.