great circle


Definition of great circle

: a circle formed on the surface of a sphere by the intersection of a plane that passes through the center of the sphere specifically : such a circle on the surface of the earth an arc of which connecting two terrestrial points constitutes the shortest distance on the earth's surface between them

Examples of great circle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The animators of Disney’s The Lion King traveled to a park with dramatic landscapes in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley to get a feel for, as Mufasa puts it, the great circle of life. National Geographic, "Visit the African park that inspired “The Lion King”," 11 July 2019 On a hyperbolic surface, some geodesics are infinitely long, like straight lines in the plane, but others close up into a loop, like the great circles on a sphere. Quanta Magazine, "A Tenacious Explorer of Abstract Surfaces," 12 Aug. 2014 Initially, the researchers tried to brute force the answer by examining every possible great circle on the planet. David Shultz, Science | AAAS, "This ocean path will take you on the longest straight-line journey on Earth," 30 Apr. 2018 Its memorial, at Lands End, stands on the great circle route from San Francisco to Guadalcanal. Gary Kamiya, San Francisco Chronicle, "How SF’s namesake ship survived a World War II ‘suicide’ mission," 9 June 2018 All straight-line paths along a sphere form a shape called a great circle. David Shultz, Science | AAAS, "This ocean path will take you on the longest straight-line journey on Earth," 30 Apr. 2018 But there’s hundreds of millions of different possible great circles, each with tens of thousands of points to verify. Julissa Treviño, Smithsonian, "This Is the Longest Straight-Line Ocean Path Around the Earth," 2 May 2018 This path is known as the geodesic or great circle route -- the most efficient way to get from the origin to the destination on a sphere. Kori Rumore And Jemal R. Brinson,, "More international travel? O'Hare International Airport's longest nonstop flights," 2 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'great circle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of great circle

circa 1530, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for great circle

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The first known use of great circle was circa 1530

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Cite this Entry

“Great circle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Nov. 2020.

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