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# How do you find the shortest distance between two places on the globe?

**Use a great circle to find the shortest distance between two points on a globe.** The intersection of a plane passing through the center of a sphere forms a great circle at the surface. Spheres are not flat, so the shortest distance between two points does not define a line.

Ships and airplanes use great circles to plan their route between two locations. Traveling this course requires constant redirection as the heading continues to change unless the plane is flying due north or south. The lines of longitude form half a great circle that connect with another longitude line 180 degrees around the globe. The equator is the only line of latitude that forms a great circle.

The circumference of a great circle around the earth is approximately 24,854 miles. The equator is slightly longer as the earth is not a perfect sphere.

At times, planes and ships plan routes that do not follow the shortest path due to other factors. When traveling with the jet stream, the forces of the winds make it worthwhile to choose a slightly longer path. However, when traveling into the jet stream, the wind resistance decreases fuel economy. The captain of the vessel often chooses a great circle path that avoids the wind resistance to increase economy.

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## How is the distance between two points calculated?

A: The distance between two points is calculated using the distanceÂ formula d = √ (x2 - x1)2 + (y2 - y1)2, where (x1,y1) and (x2,y2) are the coordinates of t... Full Answer >Filed Under: -
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## What is the distance between two points called?

A: In mathematical terms, the distance between two points is simply called distance. More specifically, the length of a line that connects the points measured... Full Answer >Filed Under: -
Q:
## How do you find the distance between two points?

A: Use the distance formula and a calculator to find the distance between two points. The distance formula works because if two points are plotted on a graph,... Full Answer >Filed Under: -
Q:
## What is the difference between a map and a globe?

A: A globe is a three-dimensional object that accurately depicts the geometry of the Earth, while a flat map is a two-dimensional representation that has some... Full Answer >Filed Under: