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Old 04-12-2014, 11:57 PM
 
624 posts, read 723,474 times
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Hello. I was up at the Thurmont Vista Overlook on Catoctin Mountain yesterday at about 10:30 a.m. on a clear spring day. At about 1,500 feet, I had an unobstructed view to the east. I could see what looked to be skyscrapers in the distance. Could that have been downtown Baltimore? If not, what might it have been? Sorry I didn't get any pictures. I don't carry a camera and don't know how to use the camera on my cheap pay-as-you-go phone. I have one unauthoritative source saying that the horizon is 51 miles off if you are 1,500 feet up. The flying distance between Thurmont and Baltimore is 48 miles according to one Internet source. Therefore, theoretically at least, it seems possible that I was actually viewing the Baltimore skyline. Also, since the tallest buildings in Baltimore are like 500 feet, it seems like that might somehow add to the distance from which you can see them. Any opinions? Thanks.
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Old 04-13-2014, 06:43 AM
 
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Depending on the exact direction it was probably the Hunt Valley (more northern) or Towson area of the Baltimore area. The terrain east of Thurmont is pretty much a large valley and the Towson area is some high ground on the northern edge of the builtup area of Baltimore. In This region the TV tower on Television Hill in Northern Baltimore is a good reference point since it is one of the tallest and most distinctive items on the skyline. Also Google Maps is a good tool to see what is down a sightline in any direction
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Old 04-13-2014, 07:31 AM
 
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I presume I would have to know the coordinates of that exact location to try to use Google maps. I don't have a GPS device or anything so I can't do that. Although I think your supposition is insightful, my educated guess is that is was the Baltimore skyline. I've been reading about the distance people can see other skylines from (e.g., Chicago and Montreal) and people are generally saying they can see them from between 20 and 70 miles away depending on their altitude. I was at 1,500 ft. and had an unobstructed view, and the buildings are near 500 ft., so it seems doable in my book. Moreover, there was a cluster of buildings, no just a lone one. Finally, I was facing east but looking SE a little, and it turns out that that is the direction Baltimore is in. Thanks for responding. I'm going to wait for other opinions.
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Old 04-13-2014, 07:38 AM
 
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On second thought, maybe it was Towson. The latter appears to have some moderately tall buildings downtown and I think Towson is closer than downtown Baltimore. I would go back with binoculars but I don't have any unfortunately.
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Old 04-13-2014, 11:58 AM
 
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I don't think you need the coordinates to use Google maps. Just start at a road you know and follow the route you took. Then zoom out and make an imaginary line in the direction you were looking in and see what intersects that line. At least that is how I do it. Towson would be a little north of downtown Baltimore but bothe would be to the Southeast. That is why the TV tower would be a good reference point. And the land along Joppa Road in the Towson area (where the taller buildings are) is pretty much the 'ridge line' outside Baltimore.
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Old 04-18-2014, 09:25 PM
 
624 posts, read 723,474 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MidValleyDad View Post
I don't think you need the coordinates to use Google maps. Just start at a road you know and follow the route you took. Then zoom out and make an imaginary line in the direction you were looking in and see what intersects that line. At least that is how I do it. Towson would be a little north of downtown Baltimore but bothe would be to the Southeast. That is why the TV tower would be a good reference point. And the land along Joppa Road in the Towson area (where the taller buildings are) is pretty much the 'ridge line' outside Baltimore.

Thurmont Vista is off of a mountain trail, not on a road. I don't see how it would work. Even if it did, the clarity of the image would not measure up to what you see w/ the naked eye. It seems that everyone things I'm crazy for thinking that I saw Baltimore. Someone even suggested that it was a water tower. The water towers were WAY closer than the buildings I saw. Moreover, I saw a cluster of buildings, not just an isolated tower. Additionally, I know what I see. Clearly, I was looking at a skyline of some sort. It had to be Towson or Baltimore. What other skylines could there have been in those directions? Furthermore, I question whether Towson has a sufficiently tall and compact skyline for me to see it from there. Only time will tell. I'm not going back this year. Maybe a year or two years now I'll head back from a telescope or binoculars. Thanks for your input.
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Old 04-19-2014, 05:41 AM
 
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I'm not doubting what you saw. I know you can see the water and radio towers at Westminster from the side of US 15 as it approaches Thurmont across the very wide valley so with the extra altitude of the overlook would give you a longer range. Towson has a couple clusters of buildings along Joppa Rd along the ridgeline as well as 'downtown'.

I've had good luck using Google Maps after the fact figuring out where it was I saw something. The resolution is fantastic in many areas (Around Camp David they may have 'fuzzed it up' some :-)) but your mileage may vary.
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