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Meridian Circle ?

  1. Aug 25, 2003 #1
    I have a little question.
    Today my teacher was trying to explain what a meridian circle is.
    Anyway ... i asked him "What if the observer is on one of the poles, his Nezir will be the same as the Celestial pole, so, he will not have any Meridian Circle at that point".
    He answered "No, he will still have a meridian circle"
    His explaination says that a person always have four direction; north, south, east and west even if that person is standing exactly on the north pole, and therefore the meridian circle for such a person can be defined using the north point of his horizon circle.
    I tried to tell him that a person standing on the north pole won't have those four directions, since he will be moving towards south no matter what direction he takes, but he disagreed.
    So, can anyone help me out ?
    Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 25, 2003 #2


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    The first step in any disagreement is to make sure that the disagreement actually exists. This could be a simple case of miscommunication. Perhaps your teacher does that mean what you think he means (it is rather hard to believe he would actually say that a person standing on the North Pole can turn and look "North").

    If there is a Globe in the classroom, you could try this simple test for clarification:

    Place your index finger on the North Pole of the Globe, then ask your teacher, "in which direction can I moved my finger to get it further North?". In attempting to answer that question, your teacher may reveal to you that he is saying something far different from what you're hearing. Or, he could show you that he is talking about a three-dimensional coordinate system, rather than the two dimensions of the surface of the earth (although I'm not sure how he would apply that to the topic of Meridian circles). Or, maybe he will make reference to the wobble of the earth's axes.

    Alternatively, when he sees that your finger cannot move farther north, he may recognize that his original statement was in error.
  4. Aug 26, 2003 #3
    Haha, this certainly prooves that u don't know how the educational system is in Jordan.
    In jordan, the educational system sucks, most teachers would say anything just to stop themselves from saying "i don't know".
    Beleive me, the teacher hardly understands what he is saying.
    When i told him "how would you define the 4 directions then when u are on the north pole ?" he said "we would define the east as the point from which the sun rises", i said "but the sun 'rises' there only once a year !", he said "well it is ok, we can still define the east direction from the place where the sun rises that day". I tried to explain that this wouldn't work, and that defining east as the place from where the sun rises is almost always inaccurate (it is only accurate at at most 2 days a year).
    The teacher seems to be conveinced that you always have 4 directions (when u fold the earth into a map) no matter where u are.

    Just to show you how those teachers think, in a physics class i asked the teacher to explain a certain point (related to the subject) that was not written in the textbook, the teachers answer was "look, if u ask me such a question again i will cut your tongue" (this happened today), what kind of answers is this ? (and this is only the second time this teacher sees me in his whole life !)

    BTW, there is no globe in the class ... there is nothing in the class other than a board and some 40 desks that are maybe 50 years old each.

    Anyway, forget about me and the teacher, do u think it is possible to have a meridian circle when u are exactly on one of the poles.

  5. Aug 27, 2003 #4


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    Thats not a disease unique to Jordan. I won a can of soda from my 8th grade math teacher in an arguement about whether there was a "zero year." He never admitted being wrong but bought me the soda anyway.
  6. Aug 29, 2003 #5
    Well, it is good to hear this frankly.
    But the problem is that those teachers are year 12 teachers (the last year of school in the Jordanian Educational System), and the even bigger problem is that they are considered the BEST teachers in Jordan !!!
    Yesterday, after lot of talking with the teacher, he said "Ok" about the meridian circle thing, but he was not really saying it, anyway ...
    Anyone can confirm my point concerning the meridian circle ?
    Thanks all.
  7. Aug 29, 2003 #6


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    You are right that the person does not have a north, east, or west when standing on the north pole. Each direction is south when you're on the north pole, so the NEWS coordinates break down there.

    One thing your teacher was right about though... he does have a meridian circle. If you think about it, you'll see it too. He has ALL the meridian circles.

    You can give that as a peace offering... "admit" that you were both wrong. From what I can see, your teacher doesn't have much of a clue on that subject, though.
  8. Aug 29, 2003 #7


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    Frankly, I am horrified by your story. As much as I hate to say it, it sounds like you should not waste your time, or your "teachers" time asking probing questions. Sounds like you could get yourself in trouble. If a teacher threatened a student, as yours did, in this country, his/her career as a teacher would end.

    Please, bring your questions here, we will help you as best we can.
  9. Aug 31, 2003 #8
    Well yes, this is kind of tricky, you can say that u have infinite number of meridian circles, but you know, it will be pointless, since those infinite number of circles won't help you (But great idea).
    Well, yes, i am in lot of problems with teachers already , almost every teacher in our 'section' hates or dislikes me.
    Anyway, i will not hesitate to put my questions here (like i didn't for the last 2 years :smile:, and i guess i was almost never disappointed), and i hope i will not get disappointed.
    I guess i am digging my way in school pretty well, lately i have been able to proove almost any point i try to say (that might not be accepted by the teacher) before saying it. I guess this is good.

    Thanks all again, see you soon.
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