Name: Sonya D.
If I were to chase the sun, so as to live through the
longest Wednesday possible, where would I have to start, to extend
the hours available, and how many countries/time zones would I pass
through before I eventually reached Thursday? If I headed for one
of the Poles, would that give me the most time, and what would I be
measuring, if not conventional time on a clock?
No matter how far north you go, the day is still
24 hours long. At the pole, in summer, the sun never sets, but time
still marches along like anywhere else.
David H. Levy
If you fly west, as you cross time zones, you will gain clock time
due to time zones.
Nathan A. Unterman
I think you can think through all of these questions yourself if you think
of a ball spinning on its axis in the light of a lamp. Here are the facts
you need to know to answer the questions.
New days start at the International Dateline at 180 degrees longitude which
is near the middle of the Pacific ocean. It runs West of Hawaii and East of
New Zealand. So for the longest Wednesday you would start at the
International Dateline at Sunrise.
The circumference of the earth at the equator is approximately 25,000 miles,
so 25,000 miles divided by 24 hours gives an approximate speed of 1000 miles
But at the poles, you could reach a point where you would need to travel 0
miles in 24 hours. Let us say you stepped one foot away from the pole, then
it would take you 24 hours of Wednesday to rotate around the pole but you
would be in constant daylight a couple of weeks before and after the Summer
Solstice (June 21) at the North Pole, and the Winter Solstice (December 21)
at the South Pole.
The number of time zones can be found at:
"There are currently 40 world time zones. There are 24 standard time zones
plus up to 16 (or maybe more) areas of the world that that use time zones
divided into 15-30-45 minute increments. China, about the size of the United
States, uses the same time throughout the country even though it crosses 4
standard time zones."
How many countries? That depends on the Latitude at which you are
You would reach Thursday at midnight at the International Dateline.
What time would you be measuring if not regular time on a clock?
You can pick any time standard you wish:
Heart beats, Cesium atom vibrations, ....but you have already specified one
day which is 24 hours..
Your time measurement will only be effected by relativistic effects when you
reach 90% of the speed of light (186,000 miles per second) so my guess is
you will be measuring standard time.
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Update: June 2012