Knowledge Articles | Longitudes and Latitudes

Longitudes and Latitudes

When we observe the globe of earth, the lines are the features that would instantly attract our concentration. Of course we know that they are known as latitudes and longitudes... but we always get confused about which one is what! Now we shall know forever - which line is latitude and which one is the longitude. We would also try to understand the manner in which the globe is divided into such imaginary lines.

Longitudes:
When we observe the globe of earth, the lines are the features that would instantly attract our concentration. Of course we know that they are known as latitudes and longitudes but we always get confused about which one is what! Now we shall know forever - which line is latitude and which one is the longitude. We would also try to understand the manner in which the globe is divided into such imaginary lines.
Greenwich is also considered to be the basis, to calculate the difference of time across the world. For example when it is 12:00 noon at the Greenwich, the time in India would be 5:30 pm. So the Indian standard time is considered to be +5:30 hours compared to the Greenwich Meantime. The entire globe is divided into 360 longitudes. 180 of them are towards the east and 180 were directed towards the west. The longitudes are divided on the basis of time. As the sun moves with a speed of 15 degrees per hour over the globe (3600/24 hours), each longitude is about 150. Latitudes:
Latitudes on the other hands are the imaginary circles that run above and below the equator. Unlike longitudes, we have only 180 latitudes that divide the globe. From equator to the northern hemisphere, there are 90 latitudes towards the north. From equator to the southern hemisphere, there are 90 latitudes towards the south. There are four major latitudes across the globe - Arctic Circle, Tropic of cancer, Antarctic Circle, Tropic of Capricorn. Arctic Circle: Arctic Circle lies at 66.5 degrees towards the north from the equator. It denotes the region in the globe which experiences the coldest temperatures. The regions under the Arctic Circle might also experience days that spread over 24 hours! Antarctic Circle: Antarctic Circle lies at 66.5 degrees towards the south from the equator. The regions under the Antarctic Circle too would experience the coldest temperatures and days that spread over 24 hours.
Tropic of Cancer:
Tropic of Cancer marks the northern most part of the equator where the axis of earth is much closer to sun. This happens around June 21 and is called a Summer Solstice. Tropic of Capricorn: It lies at the 23.5 degrees to the south of equator, where the axis of the earth is much closer to sun. This happens around December 21 and is called a winter Solstice. Now you might wonder why the axis of the earth is closer to sun either at Tropic of Cancer or Tropic of Capricorn. Though earth is moving around the sun, it is not straight. The earth rotates with a tilt of 23.5 degrees. So the earth can be equally divided either at 23.5 degrees to the north or 23.5 degrees to the south!