great circle route


great circle route

      the shortest course between two points on the surface of a sphere. It lies in a plane that intersects the sphere's centre and was known by mathematicians before the time of Columbus. Until the 19th century ships generally sailed along rhumb lines, which made use of prevailing winds and fixed compass headings. The development of steamships in the 19th century allowed complete independence from the winds, removing the major uncertainty for sailors trying to follow a geometrically prescribed route.

      Great circle routes, which require constantly changing headings, are most useful beyond the equatorial regions and for distances greater than several hundred miles. Long-distance air traffic uses great circle routes routinely, saving time and fuel. Navigational radio signals also follow great circle paths.

      Great circle routes are usually plotted on charts based on the gnomonic projection, on which great circles appear as straight lines.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • great circle route — didžiojo apskritimo maršrutas statusas T sritis Gynyba apibrėžtis Maršrutas, kurį sudaro trumpiausias du didelio apskritimo taškus jungiantis lankas. atitikmenys: angl. great circle route pranc. orthodromie …   NATO terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • great circle route — noun A route, taken by intercontinental aircraft for instance, which is the shortest distance between two destinations on the surface of the Earth; an arc of a great circle. See Also: great circle …   Wiktionary

  • great-circle route — The route that follows the shortest arc of a great circle between two points. See great circle course …   Aviation dictionary

  • great circle route — noun the air route which follows the great circle between two points, i.e., the shortest route …   Australian English dictionary

  • Great circle — For fictional interstellar organization called Great Circle, see Andromeda (novel). A great circle divides the sphere in two equal hemispheres A great circle, also known as a Riemannian circle, of a sphere is the intersection of the sphere and a… …   Wikipedia

  • great circle — noun a) A circle defined as the intersection of the surface of a sphere and a plane which passes through the centre of the sphere. Wherever a navigator may be, it certainly would be to his advantage to be able to find the great circle, or… …   Wiktionary

  • great circle — n. any circle described on the surface of a sphere by a plane which passes through the center of the sphere; specif., such a circle on the earth s surface: a course (great circle course) plotted along a great circle of the earth is the shortest… …   English World dictionary

  • Great-circle distance — The great circle distance is the shortest distance between any two points on the surface of a sphere measured along a path on the surface of the sphere (as opposed to going through the sphere s interior). Because spherical geometry is rather… …   Wikipedia

  • great circle — noun a circular line on the surface of a sphere formed by intersecting it with a plane passing through the center • Hypernyms: ↑line • Hyponyms: ↑celestial equator, ↑equinoctial circle, ↑equinoctial line, ↑equinoctial, ↑ecliptic, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • great-circle sailing — noun : the navigation or conducting of a ship on a great circle track or on a course determined in relation to a great circle track compare sailing * * * /grayt serr keuhl/, Navig. sailing between two points more or less according to an arc of a… …   Useful english dictionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.