sciencemug- On this very day in 1884: a bunch of guys (41) from a bunch of nations (26) of all over the world are sitting in a room in Washington DC, USA. They've been invited there by the US president (Chester A. Arthur) to attend the International Meridian Conference. They are there "for the purpose of fixing a prime meridian and a universal day".
And they do it.
They decide that the prime meridian (i.e. the zero degree of longitude) is an imaginery line passing through "the centre of the transit instrument (see one here) at the Observatory of Greenwich", a pleasant town in the south east of England.
They also decide that "universal day is to be a mean solar day; is to begin for all the world at the moment of mean midnight of the initial meridian, coinciding with the beginning of the civil day and date of that meridian; and is to be counted from zero up to twenty-four hours".
P- Is it really true the Fish and Chips story?
SM- I like to think it is PiPs, but if we read the acts of the conference we find this, about why Greenwich was chosen: "Greenwich, is used by 72 per cent. of the whole floating commerce of the world, while the remaining 28 per cent. is divided among ten different initial meridians. If, then, the convenience of the greatest number alone should predominate, there can be no difficulty in a choice [...]".
P- Yeah Boss, definitely I like it better the Chippy story too...
BIBLIOGRAPHY- VV.AA. (1884). International Conference Held at Washington for the Purpose of Fixing a Prime Meridian and a Universal Day. October, 1884. Protocols of the Proceedings. The Project Gutenberg.
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