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Mystery Class Update: March 24, 2000

Today's Report Includes:

Got Latitude?
Last week we provided a single clue about sunrise on the Equinox at each Mystery Site, in order to help you estimate the approximate longitude of their locations. Now all you need to know is the latitude of each place and you're there!

**Special thanks to all 10 secret Mystery Sites around the world (shhh, you know who you are), who have been hard at work writing clues for you! We have included their first set of clues below along with the weekly sunrise/sunset data. Clues like these will be provided for the next four weeks. Good luck to you all!!

Also, if you enjoyed learning how to use GMT to determine approximate longitude last week, you will really enjoy learning the fascinating history of how this "Longitude Problem" was solved. Read more about this exciting true story below.

Clues Calendar
Here are some important Mystery Class dates for the coming weeks:
  • March 31and April 7, 14, 21: New clues given each week

  • April 28: Deadline for guesses

  • May 5: Mystery Sites Revealed!

  • May 12: Meet the Mystery Sites

Who Wants to be a Millionaire? The 1714 Longitude Contest

"During the great ages of exploration, 'the longitude problem' was the gravest of scientific challenges. Lacking the ability to determine their longitude, sailors were literally lost at seas as soon as they lost sight of land. Ships ran aground on rocky shores, those traveling well-known routes were easy prey to pirates.

"In 1714, England's Parliament offered a huge reward to anyone whose method of measuring longitude could be proven successful. (The prize was worth several million dollars in today's currency.) The scientific establishment--from Galileo to Sir Isaac Newton--had mapped the heavens, in its certainty of a celestial answer. In stark contrast, one man dared to imagine a mechanical solution--a clock that would keep precise time at seas, something no clock had been able to do on land. And the race was on...."

Excerpted from the book Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. By Dava Sobel, Penguin Books, 1995.

Learn about John Harrison, an English clockmaker, who solved the Longitude Problem by developing a clock that would keep precise time at sea. With that clock, sailors could know what time it was on board and at home when a single event took place on board (i.e. when the sun reached its highest point in the sky). And by knowing the difference in hours and minutes between the two times, they could then calculate their longitude, much like you did last week with the GMT times.

For more information about this important scientific discovery, visit these resources:

  • In the book: "Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time", by Dava Sobel (Penquin Books 1995);

  • NOVA Online: Longitude and Navigation information including Teacher's Guide, resources, secrets of ancient navigators and more!
  • NOVA video: "Lost at Sea: The Search for Longitude" (call 1-800-255-9424).

This Week's Sunrise/Sunset Times

Mrs. Berger's 5th Grade Class

Thanks to Mrs. Berger and her students who "sprung" into action on the Vernal Equinox. They successfully navigated the world and found this week's times for you.

Remember, this information was recorded on Monday, the same day you collected your sunrise/sunset data.

Here are this week's data:

Journey North Mystery Class

Sunrise/Sunset Data

Data For: Monday, March 20, 2000


































* NOTE: MC #8 has experienced a one hour adjustment to its times since last week, but remember that this adjustment will NOT affect the photoperiod. Due to daylight savings time starting or ending in the coming weeks, you may see one hour changes at other locations. Again, remember that these changes will not affect the photoperiod. The sun stays up the same amount of time regardless of what time we say it is.

CLUES From Your Mystery Friends

Mystery Class:

#1 "Hot and humid during Summer, Winter is mild, but humid."

#2 "There are two languages in our country: the official state language and the language which most people speak each day. In our state language, the seasons are: KIS, KOKTEM, ZHAS and KUS."

#3 "Approximately 100 million people constitute our nation's population."

#4 "Instead of 4 seasons of the year, our region has only 1, but sometimes it is rainy and sometimes it is dry."

#5 "No matter where we are in our country we are close to the ocean. We have lots of small islands around the main country."

#6 "Our summertime is in December, January and February."

#7 "Our country has the longest highway in the world.

#8 "We are on the driest continent."

#9 "Three languages are spoken here: French, Flemish, and German."

#10. "Cars are not very useful from October - March."

The Next Mystery Class Update Will be Posted: March 31, 2000

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