Did you know that the 180th meridian navigates the entire surface of the Earth from the north pole to the south pole? It exists 180° East and 180° West of the Prime Meridian.

Starting at the North Pole and heading south to the South Pole, the 180th meridian passes through Arctic Ocean, Russia, Chukchi Sea, Bering Sea, Amchitka Pass (east of Alaska), Tuvalu, Cikobia Island, Fiji, and Antarctica.

However, the only place where roads cross this meridian, and civilization exists, is in Fiji.

180th Meridian

180 degree meridian international date line time division

credit: Paul Lenz (shared under CC BY 2.5 license)

The 180th meridian is used as the basis for the International Date Line (IDL) because for the most part, it passes through the open waters of the Pacific Ocean without much international water disputes or boundaries.

International Date Line

In reality, the IDL does not exist. It is an imaginary line roughly based on the meridian of 180° longitude. I would love to go to Fiji and change my day by just taking a step.

If you cross the date line moving east, you subtract a day, whereas if you are moving west you add a day. For example, if today is Friday and we crossed the International Date Line from west to east then it would be Thursday. When you cross the date line, you sort of become a time traveler! Cross to the west and it’s one day later; cross back and you’ve “gone back in time.”

Look at the man standing in the center of past and future (pictured above). This is almost mind-tripping. At one moment you could be in the present and yet another moment you could be still living in the yesterday. How cool!

So what do you think? Would like to explore the 180th meridian and make it in some sort of trip idea or bucket list? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.


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June 7, 2016 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

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