Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Half rest day...

Today the team reports nice weather and 15 kilometers of progress. They slept in to get a little extra rest and were off in the afternoon. Their current location is S 86.45.336, W 86.4.226.

Dennis, in his audio update, gives us a lesson in latitude and longitude. He reminds us that each degree of latitude is 60 nautical miles, or 69 statute miles, or 111 kilometers. When they phone in their report every day the most important item we listen for is their latitude. We can tell a lot about their day depending on what number we hear. The lines of longitude, which converge at the South Pole, provide far less information, if any at all. When very close to the South Pole they will be able to cross all the lines of longitude in a few steps. Of course the two coordinates combined give us their position. 

Lunch break with Thiel Mountains in background.
This was taken a few days ago.
Parallels of latitude are not always precisely the same distance apart. For instance, near the equator each parallel of latitude is approximately 110.57 kilometers apart. Near sixty degrees north or south each degree of latitude is 111.42 km apart. Near 75 degrees each degree of latitude is close to 111.61 km apart, and near the poles each degree of latitude is close to 111.69 km apart.

Of course longitude is much different. At the equator each meridian is separated by 1 degree, or 60 nautical miles, or 111.3 km. At sixty degrees each meridian is separated by half that distance (30 nautical miles, or 55.8 km). At seventy five degrees north or south each meridian is 28.9 km apart, and at the poles, where they all converge, there is no distance between them.

All that matters to our team is that they keep taking steps forward, one at a time, and whenever those steps add up to a degree there is reason to celebrate!

Make sure to listen to Dennis' audio update and check back again tomorrow for another update from the team!

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