Saturday, November 23, 2013

Longitude


Longitude is a geographic coordinate that specifies the east-west position of a point on the Earth's surface. It is an angular measurement, usually expressed in degrees, minutes and seconds, and denoted by the Greek letter lambda (λ).

Points with the same longitude lie in lines running from the North Pole to the South Pole. By convention, one of these, the Prime Meridian, which passes through the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, England, establishes the position of zero degrees longitude. The longitude of other places is measured as an angle east or west from the Prime Meridian. Specifically, it is the angle between a plane containing the Prime Meridian and a plane containing the North Pole, South Pole and the location in question. If the direction of longitude (east or west) is not specified, positive longitude values are east of the Prime Meridian, and negative values are west of the Prime Meridian. This forms a right-handed coordinate system with the z axis (right hand thumb) pointing from the Earth's center toward the North Pole and the x axis (right hand index finger) extending from Earth's center through the equator at the Prime Meridian.

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