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Earth and the Terrestrial Coordinate System - 14220_24
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Reference Lines on Earth, Continued - 14220_26
Reference Lines on Earth Information To  locate  a  position  on  Earth’s  surface,  you  must  first  have  some  point to  start  from.  If  you  imagine  Earth  in  motion,  you  will  notice  that  it spins on its axis.    The  axis  is  the  imaginary  line  drawn  between  the North  Pole  and  South  Pole  that  forms  the  first  point  of  reference.  The second  point  of  reference  is  the  Equator,  which  divides  Earth  into  two parts,  the  Northern  Hemisphere  and  the  Southern  Hemisphere. We  now  have  our  starting  points.  For  practical  application  in  locating  a position,  two  points  of  reference  were  not  adequate  so  we  had  to  create great  and  small  circles  around  Earth. Great  Circles A  great  circle  is  formed  by  a plane  passing  through  the center  of  Earth.  Figure  1-5 illustrates  our  imaginary  line that  connects  the  North  Pole and  South  Pole.  The  great circle  passes  directly  through the  center  of  Earth,  but  more importantly,  around  Earth‘s surface.  The  Equator  is  also  a great circle. Figure  1-5.  Examples  of  great  circles. Small  Circles A  small  circle  is  formed  by planes  that  do  not  pass through  the  center  of  Earth. Figure  1-6  illustrates  several small  circles.  How  will  these circles  allow  us  to  find  our position?  The  answer  is  that certain  great  circles  and  small circles  have  special  meaning for  navigation  purposes. They  are  called  parallels  of latitude  and  meridians  of longitude. Figure  1-6.  Examples  of  small  circles. 1-9

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