London, England

Monday, July 25, 2011

A foot in each hemisphere...

You know what that means... that's right!  I went to the Prime Meridian!

Greenwich Mean Time is the base time for the world.  Universal time was established by the astronomers at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England.  Greenwich is essentially the center for time and place for the rest of the world.  In otherwords, the minutes and seconds are the same at every location in the world, only the hour differs.  The hour is determined by a place's distrance from the Prime Meridian.  Since Greenwich is located at zero degrees longitude, each 15 degrees movement away from Greenwich equals 1 hour.

The Royal Observatory was originally located at the Tower of London, but due to its limited viewing area, a new observatory was built in Greenwich.  King Charles II recognized the need for a more accurate means of determining location, particularly for the safety of English ships.  He ordered the Observatory to be built.  The budget was limited, so bricks and materials were scavenged from other sites, unfortunately, when it was finished, there were not funds for the purchase of telescopes.  Flamsteed, the Royal Astronomer, was expected to figure it out on his own.  To raise money, he taught.  It was said that he resented every minute with pupils, because those were minutes that he could not be observing the sky and studying the stars and star charts.

As a geography teacher, I was excited to visit Greenwich and stand straddling the Prime Meridian with one foot in each hemisphere. 
To see more of the Royal Observatory, watch my video below.

All video and pictures are original. 

Dukas, Paul. (1922). Fanfare Pour Preceder "La Peri" [Recorded by Drexel University]. On Spring Concert '08: Folk Wisdom [MP3]. Jamendo. (2008). Retrieved from

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