# longitude

Longitude (λ) Map of Earth Lines of longitude appear curved and vertical in this projection, but are actually halves of great circles. Lines of latitude appear straight and horizontal in this projection, but are actually circular with different radii. All locations with a given latitude are collectively referred to as a circle of latitude. The equator divides the planet into a Northern Hemisphere and a Southern Hemisphere, and has a latitude of 0.
Longitude is the east-west geographic coordinate measurement most commonly utilized in cartography and global navigation.

The Greek letter λ (lambda),[1][2] describes the location of a place on Earth east or west of a north-south line called the Prime Meridian. Longitude is given as an angular measurement ranging from 0° at the Prime Meridian to +180° eastward and −180° westward. Unlike latitude, which has the equator as a natural starting position, there is no natural starting position for longitude. Therefore, a reference meridian had to be chosen. While British cartographers had long used the Greenwich meridian in London, other references were used elsewhere, including: El Hierro, Rome, Copenhagen, Jerusalem, Saint Petersburg, Pisa, Paris, Philadelphia and Washington. In 1884, the International Meridian Conference adopted the Greenwich meridian as the universal prime meridian or zero point of longitude. Each degree of longitude is further sub-divided into 60 minutes, each of which divided into 60 seconds. A longitude is thus specified in sexagesimal notation as 23° 27′ 30" E. For higher precision, the seconds are specified with a decimal fraction. An alternative representation uses degrees and minutes, where parts of a minute are expressed in decimal notation with a fraction, thus: 23° 27.500′ E. Degrees may also be expressed as a decimal fraction: 23.45833° E. For calculations, the angular measure usually must be converted to radians, so longitude may also be expressed in this manner as a signed fraction of π (pi), or an unsigned fraction of 2π.

For calculations, the West/East suffix is replaced by a negative sign in the western hemisphere. Confusingly, the convention of negative for East is also sometimes seen. The preferred convention -- that East be positive -- is consistent with a right-handed Cartesian coordinate system with the North Pole up. A specific longitude may then be combined with a specific latitude (usually positive in the northern hemisphere) to give a precise position on the Earth's surface.

As opposed to a degree of latitude, which is always around sixty nautical miles or about 111 km (69 Mile#Statute_miless, each of 5280 feet) (exactly 111.1334 - 0.5594 cos (2φ) + 0.0012 cos (4φ) [3]), a degree of longitude varies from 0 to 111 km: it is 111 km times the cosine of the latitude, when the distance is laid out on a circle of constant latitude. More precisely, one degree of longitude = (111.320 + 0.373sin²φ)cosφ km, where φ is latitude).[4]

Longitude at a point may be determined by calculating the time difference between that at its location and Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Since there are 24 hours in a day and 360 degrees in a circle, the sun moves across the sky at a rate of 15 degrees per hour (360°/24 hours = 15° per hour). So if the time zone a person is in is three hours ahead of UTC then that person is near 45° longitude (3 hours × 15° per hour = 45°). The word near was used because the point might not be at the center of the time zone; also the time zones are defined politically, so their centers and boundaries often do not lie on meridians at multiples of 15°. In order to perform this calculation, however, a person needs to have a chronometer (watch) set to UTC and needs to determine local time by solar observation or astronomical observation. The details are more complex than described here: see the articles on Universal Time and on the Equation of time for more details.

A line of constant longitude is a meridian, and half of a great circle.

## History of the measurement of longitude

The discovery of how to measure longitude accurately was among the important discoveries of the 1600s and 1700s. The first effective solution for mapmaking was achieved by Giovanni Domenico Cassini starting in 1681, using Galileo's method based on observing the relative positions of the Galilean moons of Jupiter, which have distinct known orbits. For application without a professional astronomer at hand, and in particular measurement at sea, the problem was more difficult; see Dava Sobel's book about John Harrison, Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time, for a good historical overview.

### Longitude Act and Harrison's chronometer

The tragic wrecking of the British fleet led by Sir Cloudesley Shovell led to the British Longitude Act, which created the Longitude Prize for anyone who could devise a practical method of determining longitude at sea. This was eventually achieved by John Harrison, a humble Yorkshire carpenter, with his marine chronometer; the timepiece in question was the one later known as H-4.

Harrison initially built two timepieces (subsequently designated as H-1 and H-2 by Rupert Gould, who restored them to working order between 1920 and 1933) and partially built a third version (designated the H-3). All of these timepieces used multiple contra-acting pendula with the intention of canceling out the forces caused by pitching and rolling of the ship. They also had a seemingly endless supply of small springs, all designed to correct some aberration or other. In this they initially appeared to succeed and Harrison attempted to persuade the Admiralty to convene the Board of Longitude. The Admiralty initially insisted on a shorter trial voyage to Lisbon in Portugal. The trial voyage to Lisbon revealed that the H-1 ran considerably slow. It lost four minutes during the initial part of the voyage but appeared to keep good time for the last part. The return voyage convinced Harrison that the timepiece was capable of keeping accurate time. In fact Harrison placed the ship some 50 miles west of the position determined by the ship's official navigator. Visual land observations revealed that Harrison was correct, and resulted in the prevention of the ship being wrecked off the coast of Cornwall.

It wasn't until Harrison was constructing the H-3, that he realised that it was the yawing motion of the ship as it tacked down the English Channel against the wind that had caused the clock to run slow. The return journey was free of this effect as the ship effectively ran with the wind. Harrison had to abandon his original mechanism. He then designed and built a totally new (and vastly more compact) model from scratch. This new timepiece was designated the H-4. It was based on a temperature compensated balance wheel, found in virtually every non electronic watch today. It was this model that was presented to the Board of Longitude, which authorised the West Indies trial required by the Longitude Act. By this time Harrison was too frail to undertake sea trials himself.

Harrison's son, William, led a voyage aboard a ship from Portsmouth, England to the Caribbean port city of Bridgetown, Barbados with the H-4 aboard. Harrison demonstrated a method of determining longitude by keeping the exact time of day for Greenwich, Britain, while using standard solar observations to find the exact local time on the ship as it sailed to the island of Barbados. In this way he was able to determine the position of the ship relative to the Greenwich meridian whose longitude was zero degrees exactly. The calculation of the ship's position was only two miles in error when it arrived, better than the half degree required by the act for the full prize to be awarded.

The Board proved very reluctant to pay John Harrison his prize — they didn't want the money to go to a working class carpenter, but rather a gentleman. They initially made a partial award, but then put several obstacles in the way, demanding more and more. Harrison got his prize money in 1773, but only after he persuaded the King to intervene.

Today, by other means, we can know the exact time in London (Greenwich Mean Time, Universal Coordinated Time, or "Zulu" Time). By noting the local noon time anywhere in the world, that is, when the sun crosses your meridian (and this can be done quite precisely with a long plumb bob on land), correcting for the Equation of Time, and comparing it with GMT, one's local longitude can be calculated quite accurately. This is the fundamental principle of Harrison's H-4 chronometer, which for use on a sea-going vessel could not use a pendulum. More than anything, this invention marked a breakthrough in clock precision.

It should be noted that Harrison's H-4 marine chronometer did not keep precise time. That would have been well beyond the technology of the time. What Harrison's chronometer did achieve was that it would run fast or slow at a more or less even rate averaged out over time once it had been set at Greenwich. Thus the time at Greenwich (or Greenwich Mean Time) could be ascertained to considerable accuracy by correcting the indication of the chronometer by the calculated accumulated error over the known number of days since it was last set. This daily error in chronometers was simply known as "the rate".

### Further refinements

The preferred method of determining longitude became exchanges of chronometers between observatories to accurately determine the differences in local times in conjunction with observation of the transit of stars across the meridian. An alternative method was the simultaneous observation of occultations of stars at different observatories.

From the mid 19th century, telegraph signalling more precisely synchronized star observations to significantly improve longitude measurement accuracy. The Royal Observatory in Greenwich and the U.S. Coast Survey coordinated European and North American longitude measurement campaigns in the 1850s and 1860s resulting in improved map accuracy and navigation safety. Synchronization by radio followed in the early 20th century. Satellites were used to more precisely measure geographic coordinates from the 1970s and 1980s - see GPS.

Longitude is the second part of the ICBM address, latitude being the first.

## Ecliptic latitude and longitude

Ecliptic latitude and longitude are defined for the planets, stars, and other celestial bodies in a similar way to that in which the terrestrial counterparts are defined. The pole is the normal to the ecliptic nearest to the celestial north pole. Ecliptic latitude is measured from 0° to 90° north (+) or south (−) of the ecliptic. Ecliptic longitude is measured from 0° to 360° eastward (the direction that the Sun appears to move relative to the stars) along the ecliptic from the vernal equinox. The equinox at a specific date and time is a fixed equinox, such as that in the J2000 reference frame.

However, the equinox moves because it is the intersection of two planes, both of which move. The ecliptic is relatively stationary, wobbling within a 4° diameter circle relative to the fixed stars over millions of years under the gravitational influence of the other planets. The greatest movement is a relatively rapid gyration of Earth's equatorial plane whose pole traces a 47° diameter circle caused by the Moon. This causes the equinox to precess westward along the ecliptic about 50" per year. This moving equinox is called the equinox of date. Ecliptic longitude relative to a moving equinox is used whenever the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, or stars at dates other than that of a fixed equinox is important, as in calendars, astrology, or celestial mechanics. The 'error' of the Julian or Gregorian calendar is always relative to a moving equinox. The years, months, and days of the Chinese calendar all depend on the ecliptic longitudes of date of the Sun and Moon. The 30° zodiacal segments used in astrology are also relative to a moving equinox. Celestial mechanics (here restricted to the motion of solar system bodies) uses both a fixed and moving equinox. Sometimes in the study of Milankovitch cycles, the invariable plane of the solar system is substituted for the moving ecliptic. Longitude may be denominated from 0 to radians in either case.

## Longitude on bodies other than Earth

Planetary co-ordinate systems are defined relative to their mean axis of rotation and various definitions of longitude depending on the body. The longitude systems of most of those bodies with observable rigid surfaces have been defined by references to a surface feature such as a crater. The north pole is that pole of rotation that lies on the north side of the invariable plane of the solar system (near the ecliptic). The location of the prime meridian as well as the position of body's north pole on the celestial sphere may vary with time due to precession of the axis of rotation of the planet (or satellite). If the position angle of the body's prime meridian increases with time, the body has a direct (or prograde) rotation; otherwise the rotation is said to be retrograde.

In the absence of other information, the axis of rotation is assumed to be normal to the mean orbital plane; Mercury and most of the satellites are in this category. For many of the satellites, it is assumed that the rotation rate is equal to the mean orbital period. In the case of the giant planets, since their surface features are constantly changing and moving at various rates, the rotation of their magnetic fields is used as a reference instead. In the case of the Sun, even this criterion fails (because its magnetosphere is very complex and does not really rotate in a steady fashion), and an agreed-upon value for the rotation of its equator is used instead.

For "planetographic longitude", west longitudes (i.e., longitudes measured positively to the west) are used when the rotation is prograde and east longitudes (i.e., longitudes measured positively to the east) when the rotation is retrograde. However, "planetocentric longitude" is measured positively to the east. Because of tradition, the Earth, Sun, and Moon do not conform with this definition: their rotations are prograde and longitudes run both east and west 180° instead of the usual 360°.

The reference surfaces for some planets (such as Earth and Mars) are ellipsoids of revolution for which the equatorial radius is larger than the polar radius. Smaller bodies (Io, Mimas, etc.) tend to be better approximated by triaxial ellipsoids; however, triaxial ellipsoids would render many computations more complicated, especially those related to map projections. Many projections would lose their elegant and popular properties. For this reason spherical reference surfaces are frequently used in mapping programs.

The modern standard for maps of Mars (since about 2002) is to use planetocentric coordinates. The meridian of Mars is located at Airy-0 crater.[5]

Tidally-locked bodies have a natural reference longitude passing through the point nearest to their parent body.[6] However, libration due to non-circular orbits or axial tilts causes this point to move around any fixed point on the celestial body like an analemma.

## Notes

1. ^ Coordinate Conversion
2. ^ "λ = Longitude east of Greenwich (for longitude west of Greenwich, use a minus sign)."
John P. Snyder, Map Projections, A Working Manual, USGS Professional Paper 1395, page ix
3. ^ C.W. Allen, Astrophysical Quantities, 1973, 3rd edition
4. ^ P. Kenneth Seidelmann, ed., Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac (Mill Valley, Cal.: University Science Books, 1992) page 700.
5. ^ Where is zero degrees longitude on Mars?
6. ^ First map of extraterrestial planet.

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EARTH was a short-lived Japanese vocal trio which released 6 singles and 1 album between 2000 and 2001. Their greatest hit, their debut single "time after time", peaked at #13 in the Oricon singles chart.
equator divides the planet into a Northern Hemisphere and a Southern Hemisphere, and has a latitude of 0. Latitude, usually denoted symbolically by the Greek letter phi, , gives the location of a place on Earth north or south of the equator.
In astronomy, geography, geometry and related sciences and contexts, a plane is said to be horizontal at a given point if it is locally perpendicular to the gradient of the gravity field, i.e., with the direction of the gravitational force (per unit mass) at that point.
equator divides the planet into a Northern Hemisphere and a Southern Hemisphere, and has a latitude of 0. On the Earth, a circle of latitude is an imaginary east-west circle connecting all locations that have a given latitude.
equator is an imaginary line on the Earth's surface equidistant from the North Pole and South Pole. It thus divides the Earth into a Northern Hemisphere and a Southern Hemisphere. The equators of other planets and astronomical bodies are defined analogously.
Northern Hemisphere or northern hemisphere[1] is the half of a planet that is north of the equator—the word hemisphere literally means 'half ball'. It is also that half of the celestial sphere north of the celestial equator.
Southern Hemisphere or southern hemisphere[1] is the half of a planet that is south of the equator—the word hemisphere literally means 'half ball'. It is also that half of the celestial sphere south of the celestial equator.
geographic coordinate system enables every location on the earth to be specified by the three coordinates of a spherical coordinate system aligned with the spin axis of the Earth.
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Lambda (uppercase Λ, lowercase λ) is the 11th letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals it has a value of 30. Letters that arose from Lambda include the Roman L and the Cyrillic letter El (Л, л).
EARTH was a short-lived Japanese vocal trio which released 6 singles and 1 album between 2000 and 2001. Their greatest hit, their debut single "time after time", peaked at #13 in the Oricon singles chart.
East is a direction in geography. It is one of the four cardinal directions or compass points, opposite of west and at right angles to north and south. East is the direction toward which the Earth rotates about its axis, and therefore the general direction from which the
WEST can refer to:
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• WEST (AM), an AM radio station located in Easton, Pennsylvania

''This article refers to the cardinal direction; for other uses see West (disambiguation).

Prime Meridian, also known as the International Meridian or Greenwich Meridian, is the meridian (line of longitude) passing through the Royal Greenwich Observatory in London — it is the meridian at which longitude is defined to be 0 degrees.
angle (in full, plane angle) is the figure formed by two rays sharing a common endpoint, called the vertex of the angle. The magnitude of the angle is the "amount of rotation" that separates the two rays, and can be measured by considering the length of circular arc swept
equator divides the planet into a Northern Hemisphere and a Southern Hemisphere, and has a latitude of 0. Latitude, usually denoted symbolically by the Greek letter phi, , gives the location of a place on Earth north or south of the equator.
equator is an imaginary line on the Earth's surface equidistant from the North Pole and South Pole. It thus divides the Earth into a Northern Hemisphere and a Southern Hemisphere. The equators of other planets and astronomical bodies are defined analogously.
meridian is an imaginary great circle on the celestial sphere. It passes through the north point on the horizon, through the celestial pole, up to the zenith, through the south point on the horizon, and through the nadir, and is perpendicular to the local horizon.
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