Equator
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The Equator is a
circle of latitude File:Usgs map mercator.svg, The Mercator projection and its use on a world map. This projection first came into use in the 16th century by the Dutch. A circle of latitude or line of latitude on Earth is an abstract east–west small circle con ...
, about in circumference, that divides
Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is Water distribution on Earth, covered wit ...

Earth
into the
Northern
Northern
and
Southern The name Southern may refer to: * South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earl ...

Southern
hemispheres. It is an
imaginary line In general, an imaginary line is usually any sort of geometric line that has only an abstract definition and does not physically exist. In fact, they used to properly identify places on a map. Some outside geography do exist, such as the Me ...
located at 0 degrees
latitude In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use the w ...

latitude
, halfway between the
North North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite of south and is perpendicular to East and West. ''North'' is a noun, adjective, or adverb indicating Direction (geometry), direction or geography. Etymology The ...
and
South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earlier Proto-Germanic language, Proto-Germa ...
poles. In spatial (3D)
geometry Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ''wikt:γῆ, geo-'' "earth", ''wikt:μέτρον, -metron'' "measurement") is, with arithmetic, one of the oldest branches of mathematics. It is concerned with properties of space that are related ...

geometry
, as applied in
astronomy Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws of the stars) is a natural science that studies astronomical object, celestial objects and celestial event, phenomena. It uses mathematics, physi ...
, the equator of a rotating
spheroid A spheroid, also known as an ellipsoid of revolution or rotational ellipsoid, is a quadric In mathematics, a quadric or quadric surface (quadric hypersurface in higher dimensions), is a generalization of conic sections (ellipse In math ...

spheroid
(such as a
planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and ...

planet
) is the parallel (circle of latitude) at which latitude is defined to be 0°. It is an
imaginary line In general, an imaginary line is usually any sort of geometric line that has only an abstract definition and does not physically exist. In fact, they used to properly identify places on a map. Some outside geography do exist, such as the Me ...
on the spheroid, equidistant from its
poles The Poles,, ; singular masculine: ''Polak'', singular feminine: ''Polka'' or Polish people, are a nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a combination of shared features such as language, history, ethnicity, culture ...
, dividing it into northern and southern hemispheres. In other words, it is the intersection of the spheroid with the
plane Plane or planes may refer to: * Airplane or aeroplane or informally plane, a powered, fixed-wing aircraft Arts, entertainment and media *Plane (Dungeons & Dragons), Plane (''Dungeons & Dragons''), a location in the multiverse *Plane (Magic: Th ...
perpendicular In elementary geometry Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ''wikt:γῆ, geo-'' "earth", ''wikt:μέτρον, -metron'' "measurement") is, with arithmetic, one of the oldest branches of mathematics. It is concerned with propertie ...

perpendicular
to its axis of
rotation A rotation is a circular movement of an object around a center (or point) of rotation. The plane (geometry), geometric plane along which the rotation occurs is called the ''rotation plane'', and the imaginary line extending from the center an ...

rotation
and midway between its
geographical pole A geographical pole or geographic pole is either of the two points on Earth where its axis of rotation Rotation around a fixed axis is a special case of rotational motion. The fixed- axis hypothesis excludes the possibility of an axis changin ...
s. On and near the equator, noontime
sunlight Sunlight is a portion of the electromagnetic radiation given off by the Sun, in particular infrared, visible spectrum, visible, and ultraviolet light. On Earth, sunlight is light scattering by particles, scattered and attenuation, filtered thr ...

sunlight
appears almost directly overhead (no more than about 23° from the
zenith The zenith is an imaginary point directly "above" a particular location, on the imaginary celestial sphere In astronomy and navigation, the celestial sphere is an abstraction, abstract sphere that has an arbitrarily large radius and is concen ...

zenith
) every day, year-round. Consequently, the equator has a rather stable daytime temperature throughout the year. On the
equinox An equinox is traditionally defined as the time when the plane In mathematics, a plane is a flatness (mathematics), flat, two-dimensional surface (mathematics), surface that extends infinitely far. A plane is the two-dimensional space, two-di ...

equinox
es (approximately March 20 and September 23) the
subsolar point The subsolar point on a planet is the point at which its sun is perceived to be directly overhead (at the zenith); that is, where the sun's rays strike the planet exactly perpendicular In elementary geometry, the property of being perpendicu ...

subsolar point
crosses the Earth's equator at a shallow angle, sunlight shines perpendicular to the Earth's axis of rotation, and all latitudes have nearly a 12-hour day and 12-hour night.


Etymology

The name is derived from
medieval Latin Medieval Latin was the form of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the p ...
word , in the phrase , meaning 'circle equalizing day and night', from the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the ...

Latin
word 'make equal'.


Overview

The
latitude In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use the w ...

latitude
of the Earth's equator is, by definition, 0° (zero
degrees Degree may refer to: As a unit of measurement * Degree symbol (°), a notation used in science, engineering, and mathematics * Degree (angle), a unit of angle measurement * Degree (temperature), any of various units of temperature measurement ...
) of arc. The equator is one of the five notable
circles of latitude The Mercator projection and its use on a world map. This projection first came into use in the 16th century by the Dutch. A circle of latitude or line of latitude on Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomi ...
on Earth; the other four are both
polar circle A polar circle is a geographic term for a conditional circular line (arc) referring either to the Arctic Circle or the Antarctic Circle. These are two of the keynote circles of latitude (parallels). On Earth Earth is the third planet ...

polar circle
s (the
Arctic Circle The Arctic Circle is one of the two polar circle A polar circle is a geographic term for a conditional circular line (arc) referring either to the Arctic Circle or the Antarctic Circle. These are two of the keynote circles of latitude ( ...

Arctic Circle
and the
Antarctic Circle 350px, ''Map of the Antarctic with the Antarctic Circle in blue.'' The Antarctic Circle is the most southerly of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomic ...

Antarctic Circle
) and both
tropical circles
tropical circles
(the
Tropic of Cancer The Tropic of Cancer, which is also referred to as the Northern Tropic, is the most northerly circle of latitude In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted t ...

Tropic of Cancer
and the
Tropic of Capricorn The Tropic of Capricorn (or the Southern Tropic) is the circle of latitude that contains the subsolar point at the December (or southern) solstice. It is thus the southernmost latitude where the Sun can be seen directly overhead. It also reaches ...
). The equator is the only line of latitude which is also a
great circle A great circle, also known as an orthodrome, of a sphere of a sphere A sphere (from Greek language, Greek —, "globe, ball") is a Geometry, geometrical object in solid geometry, three-dimensional space that is the surface of a Ball (mathem ...

great circle
—meaning, one whose
plane Plane or planes may refer to: * Airplane or aeroplane or informally plane, a powered, fixed-wing aircraft Arts, entertainment and media *Plane (Dungeons & Dragons), Plane (''Dungeons & Dragons''), a location in the multiverse *Plane (Magic: Th ...
passes through the center of the globe. The plane of Earth's equator, when projected outwards to the
celestial sphere In astronomy and navigation, the celestial sphere is an abstraction, abstract sphere that has an arbitrarily large radius and is concentric objects, concentric to Earth. All objects in the sky can be conceived as being projective geometry, projec ...

celestial sphere
, defines the
celestial equator The celestial equator is the great circle A great circle, also known as an orthodrome, of a sphere of a sphere A sphere (from Greek language, Greek —, "globe, ball") is a Geometry, geometrical object in solid geometry, three-dimensional ...
. In the cycle of Earth's
season A season is a division of the year based on changes in weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere, describing for example the degree to which it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloud cover, cloudy. On Earth, most ...

season
s, the equatorial plane runs through the Sun twice a
year A year is the orbital period of a planetary body, for example, the Earth, moving in Earth's orbit, its orbit around the Sun. Due to the Earth's axial tilt, the course of a year sees the passing of the seasons, marked by change in weather, the ...
: on the
equinox An equinox is traditionally defined as the time when the plane In mathematics, a plane is a flatness (mathematics), flat, two-dimensional surface (mathematics), surface that extends infinitely far. A plane is the two-dimensional space, two-di ...

equinox
es in
March March is the third month of the year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar is the calendar used in most of the world. It was introduced in October 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII as a modification of the Julian cale ...
and
September Image:September WPA poster.jpg, 175px, Works Progress Administration, WPA poster, 1940 September is the ninth month of the year in the Julian calendar, Julian and Gregorian calendars, the third of four months to have a length of 30 days, ...
. To a person on Earth, the Sun
appears to travel along
appears to travel along
the equator (or along the celestial equator) at these times. Locations on the equator experience the shortest
sunrise 250px, Skyline of Kaohsiung harbour, Taiwan at sunrise. Sunrise (or sunup) is the moment when the upper rim of the Sun appears on the horizon in the morning. The term can also refer to the entire process of the solar disk crossing the horizon a ...

sunrise
s and
sunset Sunset, also known as sundown, is the daily disappearance of the Sun below the horizon The horizon is the apparent line that separates earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor ...

sunset
s because the Sun's daily path is nearly perpendicular to the
horizon The horizon is the apparent line that separates earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continent A continent is o ...

horizon
for most of the year. The length of
daylight Daylight is the combination of all direct and indirect sunlight Sunlight is a portion of the electromagnetic radiation given off by the Sun, in particular infrared, visible spectrum, visible, and ultraviolet light. On Earth, sunlight is lig ...

daylight
(sunrise to sunset) is almost constant throughout the year; it is about 14 minutes longer than nighttime due to
atmospheric refraction Atmospheric refraction is the deviation of light Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation within the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that can be visual perception, perceived by the human eye. Visible light is usually defin ...

atmospheric refraction
and the fact that sunrise begins (or sunset ends) as the upper limb, not the center, of the Sun's disk contacts the horizon. Earth bulges slightly at the equator; its average diameter is , but the diameter at the equator is about greater than at the poles. Sites near the equator, such as the
Guiana Space Centre The Guiana Space Centre (french: links=no, Centre Spatial Guyanais; CSG), also called Europe's Spaceport, is a France, French and Europe, European spaceport to the northwest of Kourou in French Guiana, a region of France in South America. Opera ...
in
Kourou Kourou is a commune A commune is an intentional community of people sharing living spaces, interests, values, beliefs, and often property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstract and concrete, abstract is what belongs to or ...

Kourou
,
French Guiana French Guiana ( or ; french: link=no, Guyane ) is an overseas departments and regions of France, overseas department/region and single territorial collectivity of France on the northern Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic coast of South America in the Gui ...

French Guiana
, are good locations for
spaceport A spaceport or cosmodrome is a site for launching (or receiving) spacecraft File:Space Shuttle Columbia launching.jpg, 275px, The US Space Shuttle flew 135 times from 1981 to 2011, supporting Spacelab, ''Mir'', the Hubble Space Telescope, ...
s as they have the fastest
rotational speed Rotational speed (also known as speed of revolution or rate of rotation), of an object rotating around an axis is the number of turns of the object divided by time, specified as revolutions per minute Revolutions per minute (abbreviated rpm ...
of any latitude, /sec. The added
velocity The velocity of an object is the rate of change of its position with respect to a frame of reference In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (ph ...
reduces the fuel needed to launch spacecraft eastward (in the direction of Earth's rotation) to orbit, while simultaneously avoiding costly maneuvers to flatten
inclination Orbital inclination measures the tilt of an object's orbit around a celestial body. It is expressed as the angle between a Plane of reference, reference plane and the orbital plane or Axis of rotation, axis of direction of the orbiting object. ...

inclination
during missions such as the
Apollo moon landings
Apollo moon landings
.


Geodesy


Precise location

The precise location of the equator is not truly fixed; the true equatorial plane is perpendicular to the Earth's rotation axis, which
drifts
drifts
about during a year. This effect must be accounted for in detailed
geophysical Geophysics () is a subject of natural science concerned with the physical processes and Physical property, physical properties of the Earth and its surrounding space environment, and the use of quantitative methods for their analysis. The term ' ...
measurements. Geological samples show the equator significantly changed positions between 12 and 48 million years ago, as sediment deposited by ocean thermal currents at the equator have shifted. The deposits by thermal currents are determined by the axis of the earth, which determines solar coverage of the Earth's surface. Changes in the Earth axis can also be observed in the geographic layout of volcanic island chains, which are created by shifting hot spots under the Earth's crust as the axis and crust move. This correlates with the Indian tectonic plate colliding with the Eurasian tectonic plate, which is causing the
Himalaya The Himalayas, or Himalaya (); Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the In ...

Himalaya
n uplift.


Exact length

The International Association of Geodesy (IAG) and the International Astronomical Union (IAU) use an equatorial radius of (codified as the IAU 2009 value). This equatorial radius is also in the 2003 and 2010 IERS Conventions. It is also the equatorial radius used for the IERS 2003 ellipsoid. If it were really circular, the length of the equator would then be exactly 2π times the radius, namely . The
GRS 80 The Geodetic Reference System 1980 (GRS 80) is a geodetic reference system A geodetic datum or geodetic system (also: geodetic reference datum, geodetic reference system, or geodetic reference frame) is a global datum reference or reference frame ...
(Geodetic Reference System 1980) as approved and adopted by the IUGG at its Canberra, Australia meeting of 1979 has an equatorial radius of . The
WGS 84 The World Geodetic System (WGS) is a standard for use in cartography Cartography (; from Greek χάρτης ''chartēs'', "papyrus, sheet of paper, map"; and γράφειν ''graphein'', "write") is the study and practice of making and us ...
(World Geodetic System 1984) which is a standard for use in cartography, geodesy, and satellite navigation including
GPS The Global Positioning System (GPS), originally Navstar GPS, is a satellite-based radionavigation system owned by the United States government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government) is the national ...
, also has an equatorial radius of . For both GRS 80 and WGS 84, this results in a length for the equator of . The
geographical mile The geographical mile is a unit of length determined by 1 minute of arc along the Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of Earth's surface is land consisting of conti ...
is defined as one arc-minute of the equator, so it has different values depending on which radius is assumed. For example, by WSG-84, the distance is , while by IAU-2000, it is . This is a difference of less than over the total distance (approximately ). The earth is commonly modeled as a
sphere A sphere (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 m ...

sphere
flattened 0.336% along its axis. This makes the equator 0.16% longer than a
meridian Meridian, or a meridian line may refer to Science * Meridian (astronomy), imaginary circle in a plane perpendicular to the planes of the celestial equator and horizon **Central meridian (planets) * Meridian (geography), an imaginary arc on the E ...
(a great circle passing through the two poles). The IUGG standard meridian is, to the nearest millimetre, , one arc-minute of which is , explaining the SI standardization of the
nautical mile A nautical mile is a unit of length used in air, marine, and space navigation, and for the definition of territorial waters. Historically, it was defined as the meridian arc length corresponding to one minute of arc, minute ( of a degree) of latit ...
as , more than less than the
geographical mile The geographical mile is a unit of length determined by 1 minute of arc along the Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of Earth's surface is land consisting of conti ...
. The
sea-level Mean sea level (MSL) (often shortened to sea level) is an mean, average level of the surface of one or more of Earth's bodies of water from which heights such as elevation may be measured. The global MSL is a type of Vertical datum, vertical dat ...

sea-level
surface of the Earth (the
geoid The geoid () is the shape that the ocean The ocean (also the sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately ...

geoid
) is irregular, so the actual length of the equator is not so easy to determine. ''
Aviation Week and Space Technology ''Aviation Week & Space Technology'', often abbreviated ''Aviation Week'' or ''AW&ST'', is the flagship magazine of the Aviation Week Network. The weekly magazine is available in print and online, reporting on the aerospace, defense and aviatio ...
'' on 9 October 1961 reported that measurements using the
Transit Transit may refer to: Arts and entertainment Film * Transit (1979 film), ''Transit'' (1979 film), a 1979 Israeli film * Transit (2005 film), ''Transit'' (2005 film), a film produced by MTV and Staying-Alive about four people in countries in the wo ...
IV-A satellite had shown the equatorial diameter from longitude 11° West to 169° East to be greater than its diameter ninety degrees away.


Equatorial countries and territories

The equator passes through the land of 11
countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social ...

countries
.
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania between the Indian Ocean, Indian and Pacific Ocean, Pacific oceans. It consists of more than List of islands ...

Indonesia
is the country straddling the greatest length of the equatorial line across both land and sea. Starting at the
Prime Meridian#REDIRECT Prime meridian A prime meridian is the meridian (geography), meridian (a line of longitude) in a geographic coordinate system at which longitude is defined to be 0°. Together, a prime meridian and its anti-meridian (the 180th meridian ...

Prime Meridian
and heading eastwards, the equator passes through: Despite its name, no part of
Equatorial Guinea Equatorial Guinea ( es, Guinea Ecuatorial; french: Guinée équatoriale; pt, Guiné Equatorial), officially the Republic of Equatorial Guinea ( es, link=no, República de Guinea Ecuatorial, french: link=no, République de Guinée équatoriale, ...

Equatorial Guinea
lies on the equator. However, its island of
Annobón Annobón ( es, Provincia de Annobón; pt, Ano-Bom), and formerly as ''Anno Bom'' and ''Annabona'', is a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' p ...
is south of the equator, and the rest of the country lies to the north.


Equatorial seasons and climate

Seasons result from the tilt of the Earth's axis compared to the plane of its revolution around the Sun. Throughout the year, the northern and southern hemispheres are alternately turned either toward or away from the sun depending on Earth's position in its orbit. The hemisphere turned toward the sun receives more sunlight and is in summer, while the other hemisphere receives less sun and is in winter (see
solstice A solstice is an event that occurs when the Sun appears to reach its most northerly or southerly excursion relative to the celestial equator on the celestial sphere In astronomy and navigation, the celestial sphere is an abstraction, abstr ...

solstice
). At the
equinoxes An equinox is the instant of time when the plane of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continent A continen ...
, the Earth's axis is perpendicular to the sun rather than tilted toward or away, meaning that day and night are both about 12 hours long across the whole of the Earth. Near the equator, this means the variation in the strength of solar radiation is different relative to the time of year than it is at higher latitudes: Maximum solar radiation is received during the equinoxes, when a place at the equator is under the
subsolar point The subsolar point on a planet is the point at which its sun is perceived to be directly overhead (at the zenith); that is, where the sun's rays strike the planet exactly perpendicular In elementary geometry, the property of being perpendicu ...

subsolar point
at high noon, and the intermediate seasons of spring and autumn occur at higher latitudes, and the minimum occurs during ''both'' solstices, when either pole is tilted towards or away from the sun, resulting in either summer or winter in both hemispheres. This also results in a corresponding movement of the equator away from the subsolar point, which is then situated over or near the relevant
tropic The tropics are the region of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continent A continent is one of several larg ...

tropic
circle A circle is a shape consisting of all point (geometry), points in a plane (mathematics), plane that are at a given distance from a given point, the Centre (geometry), centre; equivalently it is the curve traced out by a point that moves in a ...
. Nevertheless, temperatures are high year-round due to the earth's
axial tilt In astronomy Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws of the stars) is a natural science that studies astronomical object, celestial objects and celestial event, phenomena. It uses mat ...
of 23.5° not being enough to create a low minimum midday
declination In astronomy Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws of the stars) is a natural science that studies astronomical object, celestial objects and celestial event, phenomena. It uses math ...
to sufficiently weaken the sun's rays even during the solstices. High year-round temperatures extend to about 25° north or south of the equator, although the moderate seasonal temperature difference is defined by the opposing solstices (as it is at higher latitudes) near the poleward limits of this range. Near the equator, there is little temperature change throughout the year, though there may be dramatic differences in rainfall and humidity. The terms summer, autumn, winter and spring do not generally apply. Lowlands around the equator generally have a
tropical rainforest climate A tropical rainforest climate or equatorial climate is a tropical climate Tropical climate is one of the five major climate groups in the Köppen climate classification The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate ...
, also known as an equatorial climate, though cold ocean currents cause some regions to have
tropical monsoon climate An area of tropical monsoon climate (occasionally known as a tropical wet climate or a tropical monsoon and trade-wind littoral climate) is a type of climate Climate is the long-term average of weather, typically averaged over a period of 30 year ...
s with a
dry season The dry season is a yearly period of low rainfall, especially in the tropics The tropics are the region of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of Earth's su ...
in the middle of the year, and the Somali Current generated by the Asian monsoon due to continental heating via the high
Tibetan Plateau The Tibetan Plateau (), also known in China as the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau or the Qing–Zang Plateau () or as the Himalayan Plateau in India, is a vast elevated plateau in South Asia, Central Asia and East Asia, covering most of the Tibet Auton ...
causes
Greater Somalia Greater Somalia ( so, Soomaaliweyn 𐒈𐒝𐒑𐒛𐒐𐒘𐒓𐒗𐒕𐒒, ar, الصومال الكبرى ''As-Sūmal al-Kubra'') is a concept to unite all ethnic Somalis comprising the regions in or near the Horn of Africa The Horn of Afr ...

Greater Somalia
to have an arid climate despite its equatorial location. Average annual temperatures in equatorial lowlands are around during the afternoon and around sunrise. Rainfall is very high away from cold ocean current upwelling zones, from per year. There are about 200 rainy days per year and average annual sunshine hours are around 2,000. Despite high year-round sea level temperatures, some higher altitudes such as the
Andes The Andes, Andes Mountains or Andean Mountains ( es, Cordillera de los Andes) are the List of mountain ranges#Mountain ranges by length, longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of Sout ...

Andes
and
Mount Kilimanjaro Mount Kilimanjaro () is a Volcano#Dormant, dormant volcano in Tanzania. It has three volcanic cones: Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. It is the highest African mountains, mountain in Africa and the highest single free-standing mountain in the world ...

Mount Kilimanjaro
have glaciers. The highest point on the equator is at the elevation of , at , found on the southern slopes of Volcán Cayambe [summit ] in Ecuador. This is slightly above the snow line and is the only place on the equator where snow lies on the ground. At the equator, the snow line is around ''lower'' than on Mount Everest and as much as lower than the highest snow line in the world, near the
Tropic of Capricorn The Tropic of Capricorn (or the Southern Tropic) is the circle of latitude that contains the subsolar point at the December (or southern) solstice. It is thus the southernmost latitude where the Sun can be seen directly overhead. It also reaches ...
on Llullaillaco.


Line crossing ceremonies

There is a widespread maritime tradition of holding ceremonies to mark a sailor's first crossing of the equator. In the past, these ceremonies have been notorious for their brutality, especially in naval practice. Milder line-crossing ceremonies, typically featuring Neptune (god), King Neptune, are also held for passengers' entertainment on some civilian ocean liners and cruise ships.


See also

* 1st parallel north * 1st parallel south * Coriolis effect * Intertropical Convergence Zone * IERS Reference Meridian, Prime meridian * Thermal equator * Bogota Declaration * Planetary equator


References


Sources

* (IUGG/WGS-84 data) * (IAU data) {{Authority control Astronomical coordinate systems Circles of latitude Geodesy Tropics