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Remember those math questions in trigonometry and geometry about calculating the heights of trees and lengths of shadows and so on? Here’s one for you:

CN Tower casting a shadow on downtown Toronto

I saw this picture on Google Maps and wondered how much information you could get from it. We know the CN Tower is 553.33 metres tall (with the SkyPod at 447 m), and located at coordinates 43.476667 N, 79.3875 W.

Questions:

  • How high is the sun in the sky?
  • What time was the photo taken?
  • What are the coordinates of the satellite that took the photo?
  • Others…?

Yes more information is required, but nothing you can’t look up or make a reasonable guess at. At least I don’t think so. I wonder if anybody will notice if I work out this geometry for my summer project instead of exoplanet orbit geometry like I’m supposed to. Are there other big landmarks we could do this for?

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