Why 360?

Sunday, October 4, 2009
Have you ever wondered why a circle has 360 degrees? I didn't. But its interesting to learn why.

It all started with the Babylonians. You see, they used a number system with a base of 60, instead of using a base of 10 like we do. That system is called the sexagesimal system.

They realized that it took approximately 360 days for the sun to circle the earth. At least that's what they thought. We now know it takes 365.25 days for the earth to circle the sun, but that's beside the point... The Babylonian calendar had 360 days in a year, which is fairly close to 365. They divided their calendar into 360 degrees to keep track of daily passage of the sun's journey.

You know that in a full circle there are 360 degrees. But did you know that each degree is split into 60 parts, 1/60 of a degree? They are called minutes. Minutes are also split into 60 parts called seconds. Every second is 1/60 of a minute.

When you think about it, the way we measure time is also divided into 60's. 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour.

360 also has a lot of factors; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 24, 30, 36, just to name a few. That makes it easier to work with.

Well, I hope you learned something form my post. Thanks for reading. Please comment :D


shaneille 9-05 said...

Great Job Kristin! You did a great job comparing the time, and you made me think of how everything in time is in 60's. Great job again!

Lissa 9-05 said...

WOW, AMAZING POST ! (: I LOVE your pictures, especially the clock one.. it looks cool. I also like the colourfulness and your explanation on why 360.

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