Monday, June 8, 2009

The International Date Line

The Earth makes one complete turn in every 24 hours. In that time, each of the 360 degrees of longitude passes the sun. This means that time progresses eastwards by four minutes for every degree of longitude.
The International Date is an imaginary line running between the North and South Poles which marks the end of one day and beginning of another. Countries to the east of the Date Line are always a day ahead of those to the West. Travelers who cross the line either gain or lose a day, depending on which direction they are going.
Most of the Date Line follows the 180 degree Meridian (on the opposite side of the globe from 0 Degree, the Greenwich Meridian). The line generally passes through sea, but where it would pass through or near certain land areas, it is adjusted. It zigzags around islands, putting them either into the west or the east, and avoids dividng Siberia into two time zones.

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