What's two times 180

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Where can you experience twice a day as in “And daily marmot greets”? It has to be somewhere: the magical border where the days jump from “yesterday” to “today”.

Our earth traverses different degrees of longitude, also called meridians, which each stretch from north to south across the globe. Together with the latitudes, you can pinpoint locations using their coordinates.

The best known degree of longitude is the so-called "prime meridian". It runs through Greenwich in London and forms the basis of the calendar date calculation. This zero point was set quite arbitrarily in 1884 during an international conference.

On the opposite side of the planet, on the 180th degree of longitude, is the international date line! Today and tomorrow meet here and only here can a day be experienced twice. Who is west of the date line lives in today, who is east of it lives in yesterday and is 12 hours back.

As is so often the case, it's all a question of logic, although it helps when you consider that at this point the maximum time shift of 12h backwards and 12h forwards is reached. So nothing more is possible. From here the calendar day starts all over again.

In order to have to divide as few countries as possible into two calendar zones, the date line was specially chosen in a part of the world where only a few people live and where the line mostly runs through the vast Pacific Ocean. Nonetheless, the beautiful Fiji island "Taveuni" was geographically exactly on the 180th degree of longitude. At first, the days divided the South Sea region, but adjustments were made again and again, as the date division on individual islands was extremely impractical for the residents.

The date line therefore does not follow the line of the 180th degree of longitude in detail, but instead makes a few loops around the inhabited area. Just like with other time zones, which do not always run strictly over the respective longitude, because here too several times within a country are rather impractical.

By the way, Samoa changed the date line in 2011 because they were always one day behind their main trading partners Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

The best way to cross the date line is to take a cruise. However, if you don't want to be robbed of a day, but want to experience a day twice in your life, you should choose a route in an easterly direction, for example from Fiji to Tahiti.

Incidentally, a very special highlight for all big and small birthday children who have always wanted to fulfill their childhood dream and would like to celebrate their own birthday on two days in a row.

Fiji and the Kingdom of Tonga

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