Greenwich and the story of time
|The Prime Meridian at Greenwich|
What is a Meridian line?
The first Meridian was established when King Charles II ordered an observatory to be built in the Royal Park in 1675.
The first Nautical Almanac
In 1766, the first Nautical Almanac was published. This, used with Harrison’s chronometers, gave the mathematical information mariners required for accurate navigation. It was based on the work of successive Astronomers Royal at Greenwich.
As the use of the Nautical Almanac grew, better charts of the globe were made using its data. Use of the Greenwich as a zero meridian by mariners across the globe also grew.
Too many zero meridians
On 1 October 1884, the United States hosted the International Meridian Conference in Washington.
Representatives of 25 countries attended, and one of the aims was to fix a common prime meridian for time and longitude throughout the world.
The principle was unanimously agreed, but where the prime meridian should actually be fixed was not so easy to resolve.
After considerable argument, the Meridian line at Greenwich was chosen, for two reasons:
To this day the prime meridian of the world is still at Greenwich.
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