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Degrees and minutes

  1. Mar 26, 2008 #1

    DaveC426913

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    Gold Member

    A little birdy who is apparently too shy to post asks the following:

    I have a doubt: considering the 360º for earth, and if it takes 24h to a complete rotation, why 1º corresponds to 60 min? It should be 4 min...
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 26, 2008 #2

    Dale

    Staff: Mentor

    I agree. It is a tradition as sensless and outdated as the mile and the pint.

    I believe that the source of it is something along these lines: The word "minute" means small, and I guess a tradition is that 1/60 is a small fraction of something. A second is actually short for the "second minute" or the "second small fraction" so 1/60 of a minute. So 1/60 of anything is a "minute" fraction and 1/3600 of anything is a "second minute" fraction.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2008
  4. Mar 29, 2008 #3
    So a degree is ten "second minutes" of a circle.
     
  5. Mar 30, 2008 #4

    Pythagorean

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    Gold Member

    mks is such a beautiful system except the base-60 and base-24 time.

    I had a fellow physics major who always asked why we are trying to unify science but we haven't bothered to unify the units yet.
     
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