FW: date line

Paul Eggert eggert at twinsun.com
Thu Jan 8 03:06:53 UTC 1998

   From: 	Joe Thorne[SMTP:jgthorne at concentric.net]
   Sent: 	Wednesday, January 07, 1998 12:49 PM

   I have a question about the international time date line. Is it
   true that it runs through no body of land or Pacific island?

The International Date Line isn't a fixed international standard;
it's just a cartographer's convenience.  Every now and then an island
or island group moves its clocks 24 hours ahead (or behind); when that
happens, the International Date Line in effect has been adjusted.

Most maps have an inaccurate International Date Line, since most
map-makers are using old data.  As far as I know, the most recent
island groups to jump across the Date Line were the Phoenix and Line
Islands in 1995.

To answer your question, the Date Line clearly runs through Antarctica
somewhere, and by convention this is at 180 degrees longitude; other
than that I don't know of any land that it runs through right now.

   I heard on the CBC that some islands moved it to intersect their
   cities, is this true?

This is news to me.  Can you give any more details about what you
heard, and who and when you heard it from?  I searched for
"International Date Line" at http://www.radio.cbc.ca/surfboard.html
and at http://www.tv.cbc.ca/cgi-bin/AT-Full_Sitesearch.cgi, and came
up emptyhanded both times.

   Can they officially do that?

Sure, why not?

The Wall St Journal (1996-01-22, page 1) reported that Cuba is
considering jumping across the International Date Line, just so that
it's the first into the year 2000.  So it's possible you'll have to
adjust your travel plans.

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