Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from Sarah, a student:

Assuming that the earth is a sphere of radius 6378 kilometers, what it is the difference in the latitudes of Lynchburg, Virginia and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where Lynchburg is 400 kilometers due north of Myrtle Beach?

"Assuming that the earth is a sphere of radius 6378 kilometers,..."

Don't! Instead, assume, as the committee defining the metre did, that it is an approximate sphere of quarter-circumference (measured N-S) 10,000 km.

10000 km = 90 degrees

rather exactly (even though the metre is now defined via atomic clocks and the speed of light)

So you can work out how many degrees are in 100 km and 400 km, can't you?

Good Hunting!

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