# great circle

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## great circle

Geometry a circular section of a sphere that has a radius equal to that of the sphere

## great circle

The circular intersection on the surface of a sphere of any plane passing through the center of the sphere. A sphere and its great circles are thus concentric and of equal radius. Compare small circle.

## Great Circle

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

A great circle is any circle drawn on a sphere, the plane of which also passes through the inside of the sphere. Great circles are the basis of various systems for locating terrestrial and celestial bodies in terms of sets of coordinates expressed in degrees of a circle. Longitude and latitude are the most familiar of these coordinates. Astrology utilizes several systems of celestial coordinates. Parallel to the manner in which terrestrial coordinates are great circles drawn on the surface of Earth, celestial coordinates are great circles drawn on the inside of the celestial sphere. The ecliptic, the celestial equator, and the prime vertical are examples of some of the great circles used in astrology.

## great circle

[′grāt ¦sər·kəl]
(geodesy)
A circle, or near circle, described on the earth's surface by a plane passing through the center of the earth.
(mathematics)
The circle on the two-sphere produced by a plane passing through the center of the sphere.

## great circle

Two great circle in a sphere.
A circle on the surface of the sphere (earth) whose center and radii are those of the sphere itself. Only one great circle may be drawn through two places that are not diametrically opposite on the surface of a sphere. The shortest distance between any two points on the surface is the smaller arc of the great circle joining them. An aircraft following a great circle (other than directly true north or south) will have to alter course constantly. The intersection of a sphere and a plane that does not pass through its center is called a small circle.
References in periodicals archive ?
A Guide to Planning and Cruising The Great Circle Route Around the Eastern USA is an excellent pick for any serious nautical library, offering here the second edition of a voyage the author refers to as the 'longest one-way inland cruise possible in the U.
It is very near the great circle route to the Orient.
We're right on the great circle route," says Moller.
The underlying long-term 'AA-' rating reflects the airport system's natural geographic advantage from being located on the great circle route, a diverse group of cargo operators (36 in total) with the two largest representing approximately 25% of cargo operations and its solid cash position of nearly 700 days cash on hand.
Detroit lies on the Great Circle route and is geographically located to serve the most U.
Alaska is advantageously situated on the great circle route -- generally equidistant to Asia, Europe, North America, and the Pacific Rim making it a convenient sorting and handling facility for FedEx and UPS.

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