Can I see Lebanon from Cyprus?

On the map, Cyprus seems not to far away from Lebanon. Approximately 100 kilometers. Is it possible to see parts of Lebanon from anywhere in Cyprus?

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The only other country you can see is Turkey, from the north coast, on a clear day. And this is about half the distance than Lebanon. So, no it's not possible. – Aris Jun 16 '13 at 7:17
If you're in Lebanon, go to Cedars skiing slopes, located at 2,850 m in altitude above sea level -> there it's obvious if the wind is from the West and the sky is clear. You will be able to see the Cypriot coast nice and easy. – user8447 Sep 17 '13 at 12:54
but you can see cyprus from lebanon, I won't give an answer because you're question is the other way around – Lynob Jun 10 '14 at 10:53

I started trying to solve this by finding photos from Cyprus. I found some, but they're not very conclusive.

Then I realised we could do this mathematically!

The approximate distance to the horizon from an observer close to the Earth's surface is given by:

where d is in kilometres and h is height above sea level in metres.

Examples:

• For an observer standing on the ground with h = 1.70 metres (5 ft 7 in) (average eye-level height), the horizon is at a distance of 5.0 kilometres (3.1 mi).
• For an observer standing on a hill or tower of 100 metres (330 ft) in height, the horizon is at a distance of 39 kilometres (24 mi).

As you've pointed out, it's about 100km - I plugged it into GMap-Pedometer and reckon it's about 105km.

So solving for h, we find we need to be at a height of 742m above sea level at the closest point.

Unfortunately nowhere even comes close on the eastern side.

So we have one shot - Mount Olympus, which is 1952m.

Solving for d, we can get d = ~170km.

However the distance from the top of Mount Olympus to the nearest point in Lebanon is well over 250km, meaning that NO, you cannot see Lebanon from any point in Cyprus.

EDIT

The highest point in Lebanon is Qurnat As Sawda. So perhaps you can see from Olympus to here? Let's find out:

From the top of Olympus to the top of Qurnat As Sawda is about 302km as the crow flies. If we sum their heights, we get 5040m. To be able to see 302km, we solve for h, and work that out as a mountain which would need to be 6134m high. So again, no, but it is a bit closer :)

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What if i used a giant periscope? – Stuart Nov 28 '11 at 23:38
well as per the first solving, it'll need to be at least 742m tall :) – Mark Mayo Nov 29 '11 at 0:24
What about seeing the highest point of Lebanon (Qurnat As Sawda, 3088 meters)? – mouviciel Nov 29 '11 at 12:01
From the top of Olympus to the top of Qurnat As Sawda is about 302km as the crow flies. If we sum their height, we get 5040m. To be able to see 302km, we solve for h, and work that out as a mountain needing to be 6134m high. So again, no, but it is a bit closer :) – Mark Mayo Nov 29 '11 at 20:11
Following this theory, if I am at the top of Qurnat As Sawda, I should be able to see any point at 3.856*sqrt(3088) = 214 km. Cyprus is 205 km from this summit. So it should be theoretically possible to distinguish (guess?) the cape Greco from Qurnat As Sawda if the weather is nice and all conditions are good. Hard to tell on panoramio.com/photo/11521990 . But it would also mean we can see Qurnat As Sawda from Cape Greco, right? – Vince Sep 17 '13 at 13:54

I've been on the Karpaz peninsula, the part of Cyprus that is closest to Lebanon and no, you can't see anything but sea, even from the very tip - though admittedly I didn't have binoculars or tried to find the highest point. But there aren't really any mountains in that area, just some minor hills.

Here's a picture from that area (and even pointing in the right direction, I think):

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It doesn't look like it's possible, if you are standing on the beach and not taking photos from some elevated vantage point. The eastern part of Cyprus is fairly flat, with elevation of less than 50 m, especially on the side you'd be able to see Lebanon.

The easiest way to confirm is to look for photos taken in this region, and see whether you'd be able to see something there. I looked through some photos in Panoramio and wasn't able to find a single one on which the Lebanese coast is visible. Admittedly, the photos are not of highest quality, and the meteorological conditions are not perfect, but it seems that it's not possible.

For comparison, in my current residence in Jönköping, Sweden, the island of Visingsö is around 30 km north from the city in the Vättern lake, and is barely visible most of the days -- you can only see the mirrored image of the island "hanging" above the water, even in near-perfect conditions.

[I just saw Mark's excellent scientific answer, but if mathematics are not your thing, this sort of reasoning could be of use in similar circumstances.]

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No, but you can see Syria. I found a photo of Syrian mountains seen from the Karpaz Peninsula early in the morning.

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Wow where did you find this photo? At first glance I discounted it as a storm cloud but when I looked more into it, the shape visible fits perfectly with the elevation profile of Jabal Aqraa (Arabic) Kel Dag (Turkish), a summit located right on the Syrian Turkish border. (The summit is just inside Turkey - only 1.5Km - 2Km North of the Syrian border). Importantly, it is also very close to the Mediterranean coast. Rising steeply Eastwards it is only 3.5Km from the waters of the Mediterranean. Kel Dag is 1,700m, the visible distance from this height to a point at sea level is 147Km. – user15156 Jun 1 '14 at 10:20
[this is the second part of Guest01's comment] However, Cape Greco is too far at just over 200Km. That said, the Karpaz Peninsula is only 128Km from Kel Dag and therefore well within visible range. If this is Kel Dag/Jabal Aqraa, the photo must have been taken from the Karpaz Peninsula. And if you look closely you can also make out a lower range just to the right (South), which is within Syria. So, based on the assumptions above, it looks like you can see Syria from Cyprus. – RoflcoptrException Jun 1 '14 at 11:59
@Guest01 He found it here. Their comment lines up with the Karpaz Peninsula: `"The North, the farthest eastern point where the sun rises is where I wanted to go, I expected healthy nature and I found the beauty, in wide stretches the untouched wilderness; on this clear morning as the sun rises one can even see the Syrian mountains, some 80 kilometres away."` – dlanod Jun 1 '14 at 23:06