Latitude and longitude are imaginary (unreal) lines drawn on maps to easily locate places on the Earth.
Latitude is distance north or south of the equator (an imaginary circle around the Earth halfway between the North Pole and the South Pole).
Equator is an imaginary line perpendicular to this axis. It is equidistant from the North and South poles, and divides the globe into the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere.The Equator represents 0° latitude, while the North and South Poles represent 90° North and 90° South latitudes. In addition to the Equator, there are four other major latitudes that are usually found on maps and globes.
- The Arctic Circle is the latitude 66° 34′ North. All locations falling North of this latitude
- are said to be in the Arctic Circle.
- The Antarctic Circle on the other hand, is the latitude 66° 34′ south. Any locations falling south of this latitude are said to be in the Antarctic Circle.
- Places in both these circles experience extreme weather, and experience the midnight sun, as well as polar nights.
- The latitude 23° 26′ North is also known as the Tropic of Cancer. It marks the northern-most position on the Earth, where the Sun is directly overhead at least once a year. This happens during the June Solstice, when the Earth’s Northern Hemisphere is tilted towards the Sun.
- The Tropic of Capricorn is the latitude that lies at 23° 26′ South of the Equator. It is the southern-most position on the globe, where the sun is directly overhead during the December Solstice.
- Sometimes, latitudes north of the Equator are denoted by a positive sign. Latitudes south of the Equator are given negative values. This eliminates the need to add whether the specified latitude is north or south of the Equator.
Longitude (shown as a vertical line) is the angular distance, in degrees, minutes, and seconds, of a point east or west of the Prime (Greenwich) Meridian. Lines of longitude are often referred to as meridians.
- Every meridian must cross the equator. Since the equator is a circle, we can divide it into 360 degrees, and the longitude of a point is then the marked value of that division where its meridian meets the equator.
- The longitude (meridian) passing the old Royal Astronomical Observatory in Greenwich, England, is chosen as zero longitude. Located at the eastern edge of London, the British capital, the observatory is now a public museum and a brass band stretching across its yard marks the "prime meridian."