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A meridian is an imaginary line around the Globe that connects points of equal longitude (a coordinate that specifies the east/west position of a location on the Earth’s surface). The prime meridian is a line of geographical longitude that is defined at 0°. See the fact file below for more information on the prime meridian:
- The Prime Meridian divides the Earth into East/West from the North Pole to the South Pole with an imaginary line along the longitude line of 0°.
- The Antimeridian, at 180° longitude, connects with the Prime Meridian to form a 3D giant circle all around the Globe, dividing it into Eastern and Western hemispheres.
- The first person to consistently use the notion of longitude and meridian was the Greek geographer Ptolemy.
- Ptolemy originally used the time of the lunar eclipse in different places to work out where the meridian line was. Ptolemy’s prime meridian was about 20°W of where it is today.
- Between the 1400s and 1800s many geographers and navigators (including Christopher Columbus) tried to use different methods to establish longitude whilst at sea.
- Between 1765 and 1811, the Greenwich Royal Observatory meridian in London was frequently used as the universal reference point.
- In 1884 the Greenwich meridian became the recognized prime meridian for the whole world. It’s also the meridian that was used to set the time.
- The position of the Greenwich meridian is determined by the location of the Airy Transit Circle (a special telescope).
- The IERS Reference Meridian (IRM) is the prime meridian maintained by the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS). It is maintained using satellites in space.
- The IRM prime meridian is 102 meters east of the Greenwich meridian.
- These days, the IRM prime meridian is used to set the time and to set coordinates for GPS, such as the SatNav in the car.
- As a result of the movement of the Earth’s tectonic plates, the line of 0° longitude is slowly moving back towards the west.
- The IRM prime meridian passes through many countries including the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Algeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo, Ghana and Antarctica.
- The IRM prime meridian also passes through many seas and oceans: the Arctic Ocean, the Greenland Sea, the Norwegian Sea, the North Sea, the English Channel, the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and the Southern Ocean.
- The Moon, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Pluto and Titan all have their own prime meridians.
Prime Meridian Worksheets
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use Prime Meridian Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about a meridian which is an imaginary line around the Globe that connects points of equal longitude (a coordinate that specifies the east/west position of a location on the Earth’s surface). The prime meridian is a line of geographical longitude that is defined at 0°.
Download includes the following worksheets:
- Prime Meridian Facts
- Is the Prime Meridian Permanent?
- Your time, my time
- Prime Meridian vs. International Date Line
- Interstellar Prime Meridians
- Word Building
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Link will appear as Prime Meridian Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, July 17, 2017
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.