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great circle

Line breaks: great cir¦cle

Definition of great circle in English:

noun

A circle on the surface of a sphere which lies in a plane passing through the sphere’s centre. As it represents the shortest distance between any two points on a sphere, a great circle of the earth is the preferred route taken by a ship or aircraft.
Example sentences
  • A spherical triangle is the space included by arcs of great circles on the surface of a sphere… these arcs are always less than a semicircle.
  • It consisted of a system of rings corresponding to the great circles of the celestial sphere with a central tube which was used to line up stars and planets.
  • The great circle distances between the latitude and longitude coordinates of the population centroids for each pair of counties were used in the denominator.

Definition of great circle in:

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