TODAY -

A walk on prime meridian

Akham Bonbirdhwaja Singh *



One thing that attracted me most while in England was the Prime Meridian. While I was young I fancied walking on the zero meridian one day and here, I am in London for quite some time now but the problem was that there was lockdown for so many days and I could not move out from my apartment. But then, the condition of covid in London improved substantially.

It was remarkable achievement for the people and government of UK that from a serious situation, one of the worse one can say, they have come out successfully. Their mantra I feel was the strict discipline about social distancing.

And I was lucky that public transport has opened to common people (though lockdown was still on). So, I took the risk of making a trip to the Prime Meridian to walk on it. Everybody knows that the Prime Meridian is taken at Greenwich, a village near London.

The trip to Greenwich was quite educative for me, a short trip but enjoyable. From southernmost part of London from the Borough of Sutton, I had to travel to Central London and had to change the bus three times.

The bus fare payment was through contact less payment, if my journey requires change of bus and if I tap the card again within an hour, they won't charge. But my journey required change of bus five times in two hours, so I was charged two times.

Same charge for any distance, half a mile or ten miles, the fare is same, one tap, they charge one and a half pounds that is all, one of the best public transport system, one can say. I won't bore you with other details, so from central London I went to the other side of Thames and went to Waterloo station.

Waterloo station is one of the landmarks of the city of London built to commemorate victory of England over France under Napoleon Bonaparte. It was also in honour of the Duke of Wellington who was the commander in chief of the battle of waterloo in 1815 (actual waterloo is in mainland Europe near Belgium, by then a part of United Kingdom of Netherlands) that ended the rise of Napoleon.

The first battle France lost was the battle of Trafalgar where Admiral Nelson defeated combined navy of France and Spain and established Britain's naval supremacy. So, the battle of waterloo ushered in the important historical phase known as Pax Britannica. From waterloo, I could get the bus to the village of Greenwich.

Greenwich is most important geographical reference point. In our geography lessons we have heard enough of it and GMT, the Greenwich Mean Time. So, it could be one of the most famous village in the world. Of course with the expansion of London, it has become a borough of London. It is about an hours journey by bus from waterloo station near Thames.

Greenwich (pronounced Greenich) is also birthplace of the many of the royalties of Tudor dynasty. The name is a Saxon name meaning Green Village. The adjoining village of Black heath is a place where the Roman road from Dover passes through and ruins of a Roman temple is still situated there.

In the yonder, a few low green hillocks are visible giving a perfect backdrop of a beautiful landscape. Greenwich also has a huge maritime museum and the famous Ship museum Cutty Sark restored in 19th Century (it was still closed due to corona pandemic that day) like Vasa Museum of Stockholm.

In Stockholm, I thought, it has many museums and even nicknamed as City of Museums, but then London is no less, it has many museums. The old books, old buildings, old artefacts are valued very much here, even handwritten notes are kept preserved, they are becoming priceless now.

Both are beautiful cities, but another speciality of London is that here old and new are so intimately blended, even the Buckingham Palace is more than 300 years old and is in the heart of London, this is one of the secrets of London for being beautiful.

Greenwich also is like that, blend of old and new.Many other attractions are also there in Greenwich but my main target was the Prime Meridian observatory and the line of Prime Meridian, the 0<

" Longitude. The line from where the East and West start, the line which divides the globe in to Eastern and Western Hemispheres. Many of the houses here are of two storied buildings of olden architecture giving the village an ancient look. The Royal Greenwich Observatory itself is only a two storied small building, but it matches with the small hillock on which it stands.

Now, why the prime meridian was located at Greenwich? Actually the line of prime meridian was invented by George Airy in 1851 based at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.It was decided in the International Meridian Conference held in 1884 in Washington DC, decided in a voting among the members.

As most of the maps used by the commercial ships in those days were based on this and as America has made most of the reference points based on Greenwich line backed the claim. Of course, eighteenth century was a century which belonged to England.

The meridian line has been marked on ground for visitors that is in line with that of telescope of Mr.Airy and at night the observatory displays a laser light indicating the prime meridian line. There are also lines along the prime meridian laid on line elsewhere also for the purpose of visitors.

The royal observatory itself is surrounded by a huge beautiful park and hence, there are many visitors coming to the observatory from UK and abroad as well. The prime meridian at Greenwich is now reference point for all the mappings.

In US also, as mentioned above, the Greenwich prime meridian is followed, but due to the irregularity in curvature and mass of earth, the WGS 84 (the world geodetic system, 1984) when harmonised accurately and in relation to core origin of coordinates, the zero meridian of WGS 84 is slightly (102 m) towards east of the Greenwich Prime Meridian. The datum of WGS 84 called universal chart datum is what the satellites and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are using at present.

Then what about sunrise and sunset on Prime Meridian? Of course the zero longitude extends all along from Polo to Pole, but let me talk about the meridian at Greenwich point. As a school student long back, we all wanted to see the sunrise and sunset at Prime Meridian, I thought of sunrise at 6 am and sunset at 6pm but it was found that due to the tilt of the earth's axis towards the sun and curvature of earth, the sunrise is very early and sunset late.

So, day break is at 4.20 am (sunrise 4.50 am) and dusk twilight at 9.50 pm (sunset 9.17 pm) thereby giving a clear daylight time of more than 17 hours. The daylight time shall increase as one proceed towards the arctic circle in summer and in winter it will be just the opposite. The nights are much longer and days very short in winter.

I have seen in Sweden, on Southern side (Northern side is in Arctic Circle) day time is almost 20 hours in summer. So, here, there is a time adjustment of one hour called DST (Daylight Saving Time) which starts from last part of March and ends in last part of October every year.

So, during winter time, there is no daylight saving and clock reverts to GMT which is 5 hr 30 min behind IST. In summer, with the DST, it is BST (British Summer Time, GMT+1) in London or London time and the time is only 4 hr and 30 minutes behind IST.

After office hour ends at 5 pm, the people have good four hours for various activities before they go to bed, it should really be wonderful. This is the summer advantage of being at 51.5 degrees N, not of being on Zero degrees longitude. We all have heard the praises of English summers, they are simply wonderful.

In winter, of course I do not envy English winter much, the four months of winter, chilly and mostly wet with slight drizzles of rain always. But then, during this period, the Cherries (Prunus), Royal Burgundy (Prunus), Chanticleer Pear (Pyrus), Magnolias, White Forsythia (Abeliophylum), Redbud traveller (Cercis), Crab Apple (Malus), Foxglove Tree, Daffodils, Camellias, they get prepared in the harsh winter for the spring fair of colours.

In late winter it is a real sight when the buds try to emerge, the tips of branches and leaf axils, all start bulging, waiting the stroke of spring to burst open in to myriads of colour. Of course an English poet used to say, "if winter comes, can spring be far behind?"

I would have liked to watch the laser line of the prime meridian, but sunset nowadays is very late here in London as it is summertime, the sun sets only at 9.17 pm and I had to make a long trip to my place and missed the same.

I was also not sure if they would display the lights as lockdown of public places was still on and there were no staff available. Had I seen the laser line also, it could have been a bonus. Anyway, I came back happy, with a great feeling of having walked on the Prime Meridian.


* Akham Bonbirdhwaja Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be reached at bonbir13(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on July 01 2020 .



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #36: Download
  • Violence in Manipur 2023-2024 : Timeline
  • Saraighat Bridge - An Expedition
  • Meeting with MP Dr Bimol Akoijam
  • Manipur: 11 medal (5 gold) @ Natl Taekwondo
  • Socialization and the Two "Meads"
  • The Power of Poppy - 36 :: Poem
  • Scientist of Manipur: Raghumani Ningthoujam
  • Chilli Chicken Delivers a Flavorful Punch
  • International Day of Yoga 2024
  • Antimicrobial Resistance: Top 10 health threat
  • Indo-Naga Talks (From 2012) :: Timeline
  • Taste vs Health
  • Fiasco of UGC-NET, NEET 2024
  • From NEET to NET: It's time to fix NTA
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #1 : Gallery
  • Ema Panthoibi Phijol Hongba at Mandalay
  • Proposed Palm Plantation behind Jiri violence?
  • 'Why Impose War on Us'
  • Why workers most affected by scorching heat?
  • Coup of 2021 not the only push factor
  • Last chance not to fall from grace
  • Ibudhou Cheng Hongba #1 : Gallery
  • Kind attention 'Your Lordship' CJ of India
  • 'Opposition-less Govt in Nagaland is rhetoric'
  • Xorai - Assam's cultural symbol
  • Natural ways to lighten dark underarms
  • Is Delhi doing the right thing ?
  • Set the priorities right
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #3 : Gallery
  • Modi's arduous journey & fate of Naga peace
  • Autism: Why fit in, when you can stand out?
  • Bloodstained Masquerade :: Poem
  • Dharamvir Singh: Forgotten hero of TV
  • What is keeping the clash going on ?
  • Warning of a coming politico-military storm
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #6
  • The Great June 18 Uprising : Timeline
  • The Great June 18 Uprising : Gallery
  • Are we on track to end AIDS by 2030 ?
  • 3 writers from Manipur for Sahitya Akademi
  • Manipur's traffic, parking: A big nuisance
  • Career in elderly care
  • Keeping the folks under a state of confusion
  • Nothing neat about NEET
  • Aid to relief camps @ Jiribam : Gallery
  • Id Festival- 'Id-Ul-Azha' :: Book
  • World Day to Combat Desertification 2024
  • NDPP did not lose LS due to local problem
  • RSS chief says, priority Manipur
  • What if not IIT ?
  • Waiting for a response from the PM
  • The test of leadership failed
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #35: Download
  • Gastronomy tourism in Manipur : Gallery
  • Triathlon : Manipur bag 6 medals (3 gold)
  • Illegal immigrants/fugitives from Myanmar
  • Eid-ul-Adha: Embracing sacrifice
  • A solution to Meitei-Kuki-Zo conflict
  • The Power of Poppy - 35 :: Poem
  • Scientist of Manipur: R K Brojen Singh
  • Brief sketch on General Balaram Sougaijamba
  • Non-violent for peaceful, mutual co-existence
  • Homeless person ..alcoholism & defeated TB
  • Cancer on rise among young adults
  • Defending, fighting for Idea of Manipur
  • From partiality to complicity
  • Bike Rally - Sekmai to Kangla : Gallery
  • 'Modi must announce finality of Naga pacts'
  • Gliding over Brahmaputra
  • Question leaks cause stress among student
  • Home remedies for prickly heat
  • After IIT, AIIMS it is now IIM
  • Stealing spotlight from Manipur crisis
  • Tarpon chaklen katpa @ Andro #2 : Gallery
  • Strongly condemns violence in Jiribam
  • Lessons from outcome of LS election
  • Tumcho releases "Goodness of God"
  • Right diagnostic for antimicrobial resistance
  • 12th June is World Day against Child Labour
  • Hands of geo-politics ?
  • The row over NEET-2014
  • 2nd Annual Art Exhibition #1 : Gallery
  • Chilli Chicken: Film Spotlighting NE in B'lore
  • Committee of Narcotics Anonymous - Imphal
  • The Power of Meditation
  • Oceans as a career choice
  • Getting more and more audacious
  • A test of leadership
  • Education Fair @Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Gifting two seats to Cong
  • Voters empowered democracy
  • Postcards from Meghalaya premieres
  • Milk : Essential nutrient for a healthy body
  • Failing in competitive exam not end of world
  • Delhi : A mere spectator
  • Abandoning Jiribam
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #5
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #2 : Gallery
  • Mainstream in Shoes of Alternative
  • Protect the medicines that protect us
  • Lets take action for our land & our future
  • Democracy and independent media
  • Agenda at work to shut Western Gate
  • Keeping Manipur on the boil
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #34: Download
  • The Enigmatic Journey of 'Laikhutshangbi'
  • Individual and the Social
  • An Ardent Appeal to All Concerns
  • Condemnation of Attack & Govt Inaction
  • The Power of Poppy - 34 :: Poem
  • Scientist of Manipur: Laishram Shanta
  • Alien fishes spotted in Manipur's rivers
  • Training on mushroom at Langthabal
  • Digital avatars or deepfakes ?
  • 7th June is the World Food Safety Day
  • How to prepare for UPSC after 10th ?
  • The Jiri violence
  • Beginning of a new vote culture ?
  • Bimol Akoijam (Cong) wins Inner PC : Gallery
  • BJP, NPF & other NDA pay heavy price
  • Nature is one of greatest blessings of God
  • Plantation drive in Tripura, Assam & Manipur
  • Summer beauty
  • Environment conservation & over-exploitation
  • Is Modi cut out for leading a coalition ?
  • 'Ishanou' Selection @ Cannes #2: Gallery
  • Scholarship for Johnstone Hr Sec students
  • 1st foundation day of Interfaith Forum
  • World Environment Day: Our land, our future
  • Indonesia stronger anti-tobacco measures
  • Navigating a fragile Myanmar: India's policy
  • New breed entering electoral politics
  • The road to formation of new govt
  • International Dance Day #1 : Gallery
  • Matchbox marketing mantra
  • Stop harming nature :: Poem
  • Saving for oneself & the Nation
  • Model United Nations (MUN) conducted
  • Tobacco: Threat to health & environment
  • Candidate from ruling party biting the dust
  • The verdict
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #4
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #3 : Gallery
  • Navigating Remal amidst Manipur conflict
  • We are #GenerationRestoration
  • Intl Day of Innocent Children Victims
  • Apparel Industry Skills & Innovation CoE
  • What's in a cyclone's name ?
  • Ongoing clash, the floods, the losses
  • Exit poll predictions
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #33: Download
  • Evading flood & rethinking urbanization
  • Manipur Flood: Health Advisory
  • Onus on civil bodies to ensure NNPG unity
  • Rats also cause flood
  • Benefits of JEE Main mock tests
  • People have spoken, now the results
  • The fury of Remal
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #1 : Gallery
  • The flood in our Stars
  • The Power of Poppy - 33 :: Poem
  • 'Group of people misrepresented themselves'
  • EV industry and career options
  • Scientist of Manipur: Chandrakant Aribam
  • Candy flavoured traps to hook next Gen
  • Commemorate Naga Plesbicite Day 1951 #2
  • Tobacco affects health & environment too
  • Jio extend validity for Customer in Manipur
  • Students must learn about AI irrespective
  • As vote count day approaches : Floods
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #2 : Gallery
  • Flooded : Sacrifice of Yairipok's Maiden
  • World No Tobacco Day 2024
  • Chandam Rishikanta wins NPC Nat'l C'ship
  • Flood: Helpline numbers for emergency
  • Battling body odour ?
  • Floods : Not entirely natural phenomena
  • PM Modi's purpose
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #1 : Gallery
  • June Calendar for Year 2024 : Tools
  • Flood: Control Rooms & Helpline numbers
  • Economic impact of ongoing conflict
  • Army Recruitment Rally for Manipur
  • Cut deficit, boom likely
  • Are Gods angry ? Wake up call for Manipur
  • Beating of the Retreat #2 : Gallery
  • We did Overcome: Mayhem of Month of May
  • Training on mushroom at Potshagbam
  • Famous female Mathematicians in India
  • Disinformation campaign thengnare
  • Human trafficking puts humanity to shame
  • Sky opens up in all its fury
  • Licypriya meets Italy PM & Pope Francis
  • HSLC (Class X) 2024 : Full Result
  • HSLC 2024 : Important Info & Grading System
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Private Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Aided Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Govt Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Statistical Abstract
  • HSLC 2024 : Comparative Statement
  • Combined Defence Services Exam 2024
  • Good show in Class X exams
  • Downplaying the crisis
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #3
  • Reviving Lamphelpat : Conservation : Gallery
  • Commemorate Naga Plesbicite Day 1951 #1
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Hojai
  • The Power of Poppy - 32 :: Poem
  • Insights from CUET-UG Counselling
  • International Day for Biological Diversity
  • Unseen force at work: Time to unravel it
  • Sheikh Hasina's revelation
  • The Vanishing Meitei Tribe
  • Building career in defence & strategic study
  • Why example of model code of conduct ?
  • Ownership of responsibility
  • Will pressure mount on key players in NE
  • How to save your foot after an accident
  • Children Camp @JNMDA Imphal #3 : Gallery
  • Education Fair @Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Project Associate @ CSE, Assam Univ
  • Understanding schizophrenia
  • Advancement in Multi Objective Optimization
  • When will women in voter list increase ?
  • Making 2 plus 2 is equal to 5
  • Changing face of drug menace
  • Scientist of Manipur: Jayanta Manoharmayum
  • 25 yrs since Atal Vajpayee visit to RIMS
  • 4 Lakhs donated to support (L) Maipak Family
  • Clarification: Guwahati Meet on Humanitarian
  • Start UPSC prep after 12th for success
  • Tips to avoid melting makeup in summer
  • Giving a big solid push to ST demand
  • Time to come clean
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba: 1 occasion, 2 narratives #3
  • Khongjom Day @Khebaching #2 : Gallery
  • 'Ishanou' Selection @ Cannes #1: Gallery
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #2
  • Scientist of Manipur: Amom Ruhikanta
  • Preserving Thang-Ta :: Rare Photos
  • Regarding Human Rights Situation in Manipur
  • Malemnganbi Laishram : Science Topper
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2024 #2: Gallery
  • Thokchom Sheityajit : Arts Topper
  • Aiena Naorem : Commerce Topper
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Science Topper
  • HSE 2024 : Subject Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : District Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : Candidates with Highest Marks
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Science Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Arts Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Commerce Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Arts Topper
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Commerce Topper
  • Aftermath of ferocious hailstorm #1 : Gallery
  • Radio E-pao: Manipuri Film OST (130+ song)
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing : Full Book
  • A ferocious hailstorm @Imphal : Gallery
  • '365 Days of Chin-Kuki Aggression' : Gallery
  • National Science Teacher workshop
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #2 : Gallery
  • Scientists of Manipur : Ngangkham Nimai
  • GHOST of PEACE :: Download Booklet
  • List of Kings of Manipur: 33 - 1984 AD