|Posted by: HoboSylvain | 2015-01-31 16:44:33 | Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador|
Keywords: attraction, nature
|One of the major attractions around Quito, is the official location of the Equator line dividing the planet in two hemispheres, a bit like there's just outside London the official line of the Greenwich meridian. In the case of Quito, it's kind of funny because they made a big tourist village around a monument located on the line drawn by a French measurement expedition 200 years ago, but it's not the actual location of the Equator line. The real location (measured by GPS) is just outside the tourist village trap, inside an interesting indian museum. Both locations are interesting for their own reasons, but I enjoyed much more my visit to the real location of the Equator line.|
That translates as
“Half of the world”, to indicate that the Equator line divides
the globe in two hemispheres (North and South). This line yes was
named by man, but it's also an important natural feature of our
planet, since that's also the line where the circumference of the
Earth is the largest (just over 40 000 km, or almost 25 000 miles).
Also, this zone around the half of our planet is very special on
numerous reasons and plays a great role in the control or expression
of many huge natural phenomenons. Just consider the fact that close
to the Equator line (within the two tropic lines), there are no real
seasons, days are always the same length (about 12 hours of daylight)
all year long.
Mitad del Mundo
Aerial view of the village, from the observatory level of the museum.
The exact position
of the Equator line (even before it was named as such) was always of
a great interest for scientists. Mathematicians and physicists have
been working on measuring the planet for ages, even back to Ancient
Greece and beyond. It's impressive to see how close many early
measurements were to the reality when you consider the tools they had
back then. Over 200 years ago, a team of French scientists came to
current Ecuador country to take measurements in order to locate the
position of the Equator line. Their calculations were good... but
not exactly on point.
That's that measure
taken 200 years ago that is the centre of the touristic village
around La Mitad del Mundo. The park is fairly modern but sticks to
the original determination. The calculations weren't that off... but
the real position of the Equator line is just a bit North, just
outside the park limits, within what's now the Itiñan museum (see
Within the park of
La Mitad del Mundo, you'll see lots of souvenir shops and restaurants
offering “authentic” food, etc. It's really just a Disneyland
for tourists however, with tons of souvenir shops selling you
“unique” 0 00' 00” (0 degree, 0 minute, 0 second) souvenirs in
various shapes and forms. Yes, there's a yellow line indicating
where the Equator line passes through allegedly and there's an
interesting museum sitting right on it. The visit is interesting,
for the museum and other exhibits in various pavilions on site, but
since it's not the real location, all that seems a bit fake at the
root. There are many price options for the entrance on the site and
inside various attractions, I only recommend the museum which is the
tower sitting at the middle of the site. Keep your extra money to
visit the other museum next door to La Mitad del Mundo, much more
Various totems of civilizations.
Right next door to
the circus of La Mitad del Mundo, there's a little open-air museum
about the indians history in the area, and many facts related to the
Equator line. It's also the location of the real Equator line, as
measured by modern GPS systems. The GPS data from my devices (a
Nexus tablet and my compact camera) didn't yield exactly the same
data, but were pretty close (can't expect those small devices to be
precise at 0.0001 degrees, they're not high precision instruments). See the picture on top, of the real Equator line location.
On the site, during
the guided tour (included in the admission price) you are presented
various cultures of the past and present of Ecuador and at the end
you finish with the Equator line facts and experiments.
You are invited to
attempt various exercises that demonstrate the incredible influence
of the Equator line. I'm not sure all these are real or not, but
they do make a good entertaining show. I won't reveal you the
experiments taking place, except for one, probably the most stunning
one: the demonstration of the Coriolis effect. But if you want to
know about the other experiments, comment below the post on my Web
site and I'll reveal you one.
We all heard that
South of the Equator line, water drains differently in the toilet
bowl for example. Technically, in a toilet bowl, the shape of the
bowl plays a greater role than Earth magnetism on the water
evacuation flow. Well, in this museum, there's a demonstration that
will leave you speechless about this effect. I've recorded a video
to show it to you. I stitched up three video segments to show you
the water flow out of a sink on the Equator line, then South and
North of it.
Isla de la plata
Sanctuary Las Lajas
Festival of lights
La Amistad Park
Belize Reef Barrier
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