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What is longitude?

Lines of longitude, also called meridians, are imaginary lines that divide the Earth. They run north to south from pole to pole, but they measure the distance east or west. Longitude is measured in degrees, minutes, and seconds. Although latitude lines are alway equally spaced, longitude lines are furthest from each other at the equator and meet at the poles. A transcript is available that describes this infographic content in plain text. (Image credit: iStock)

Lines of longitude, also called meridians, are imaginary lines that divide the Earth. They run north to south from pole to pole, but they measure the distance east or west.

The prime meridian, which runs through Greenwich, England, has a longitude of 0 degrees. It divides the Earth into the eastern and western hemispheres. The antimeridian is on the opposite side of the Earth, at 180 degrees longitude. Though the antimeridian is the basis for the international date line, actual date and time zone boundaries are dependent on local laws. The international date line zigzags around borders near the antimeridian.

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