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World Geography : Latitudes & Longitudes

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LATITUDES & LONGITUDES : MORE INFO
  • Latitudes and longitudes form a network of imaginary lines which allow us to locate any place on the earth's surface.
    - The network of imaginary lines formed by the latitudes and longitudes (that are perpendicular or orthogonal to each other) is called a grid.

  • The equator divides the earth into two equal halves called the northern and southern hemispheres.
    - The seasons are opposite in the two hemispheres. Thus, when the northern hemisphere has winter, the southern hemisphere experiences summer and vice versa.

  • The earth's axis is an imaginary line that connects the north and south poles and passes through the center of the earth.
    - The earth's axis is at an inclination of 23 1/2o to the vertical.

  • The equator is at a latitude of 0o.
    - Latitudes are circles of different diameters with the equator being the largest and those near the poles being the smallest.

  • There are 180 parallels of latitude and 360 meridians of longitude.
    - Longitudes are measured in degrees from 0o to 180o, east or west of the Prime Meridian. The two important lines of longitude are the Prime Meridian (0o) and the International Date Line (180o.

  • Latitudes are imaginary circles parallel to the equator in each hemisphere of the earth.
    - Latitudes are parallel to each other and therefore never meet. Longitudes meet at the poles.

  • The Tropic of Cancer is at a latitude of 23 degrees 28 minutes north of the equator.
    - The Tropic of Cancer is in the northern hemisphere and the Tropic of Capricorn is in the southern hemisphere.

  • The Tropic of Capricorn is at a latitude of 23 degrees 27 minutes south of the equator.
    - The Tropic of Capricorn is in the southern hemisphere and the Tropic of Cancer is in the northern hemisphere.

  • The special latitude at 66 1/2o N is called the Arctic Circle.
    - The Arctic Circle is near the north pole and the Antarctic Circle is near the south pole.

  • The special latitude at 66 1/2o S is called the Antarctic Circle.
    - The Antarctic Circle is near the south pole and the Arctic Circle is near the north pole.

  • Longitudes are imaginary semi-circles that meet at the two poles.
    - Longitudes meet at the poles and are widest apart at the equator. Thus, the distance between two longitudes does not remain constant. On the other hand, the distance between two latitudes remains the same.

  • Latitudes are circles of different sizes, whereas longitudes are semi-circles of equal size.
    - Latitudes are circles of different diameters, with the equator being the largest and those near the poles being the smallest. Longitudes are semi-circles of equal size because they all extend from the north pole to the south pole.

  • Australia is an inhabited continent that is entirely south of the equator.
    - Antarctica is also entirely south of the equator, but is an uninhabited continent. Much of Australia lies between 10oS and 40o. Australia being in the southern hemisphere will have winter when a country (e.g., India) in the northern hemisphere has summer and vice versa.

  • Ecuador is a South American country that takes its name from a line of latitude.
    - The equator crosses this South American country, and Ecuador is Spanish for equator.

  • Each degree of longitude corresponds to a time difference of four minutes.
    - Each rotation of the earth takes 24 hours (24 x 60 = 1440 minutes) and corresponds to 360o in terms of longitudes. So, the velocity of the earth's rotation is 15o in one hour. Thus, one degree of longitude corresponds to a time difference of 4 minutes (i.e., 1440 / 360).

  • The longitude of 0o is called the Prime Meridian.
    - Greenwich is the London borough that has given its name to the Prime Meridian (0o) of the world. The Prime Meridian is also called the Meridian of Greenwich. The word "meridian" means "midday": lines of longitude are called meridians of longitude because places on the same longitude have "midday" at the same time. The International Date Line approximately follows the longitude of 180o so as not to cross any land.

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