Thursday, July 23, 2009

Prime Meridian

This piece of what appears to be modern sculpture is the marker at the Royal Observatory, Greenwhich, London, showing the line of zero degrees (the metal strip recessed in the ground), the 'prime meridian' of the world from which navigation calculations derive. There have been others in the past, the French had a coordinate system with zero passing through Paris, and I believe there was a Russian system based on Moscow. This one is a tourist mecca, and everyone needs to stand with a foot in each of the eastern and western hemispheres at once. The oblique 'mast' of this gyroscope-like structure is almost certainly aligned on the celestial north pole, therefore reproducing the axial tilt of the Earth. The photograph was a simple composition piece in which the principle challenge was taking it in the moments when the monument was not obscured by the thronging visitors. Sharpened only. November, 2007; Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

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