Waterloo sunset

Classical Mechanics Level 3

At sunset, there is a moment at which the bottom of the Sun appears to touch the horizon. From this point on, the Sun dips further below the horizon until the point at which it finally disappears from view. How much time (in minutes) passes between the moment the Sun touches the horizon to the moment it disappears?


  • The distance from the Earth to the Sun is \(149.6\times10^9\) m.
  • The radius of the Sun is \(696.3\times 10^6\) m
  • For simplicity, suppose that light always travels in straight lines and that you're standing at the Equator.

This problem was posed by the applied mathematician Vadim Patsalo


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