What Is the International Date Line and Why Is It Not Straight?
The International Date
Line (IDL), also called the Date Line is a north-south line through the Pacific
Ocean where, according to international agreement, the date changes. East of
the line it is one day earlier than it is to the west. The line is necessary
because the Earth is divided, longitudinally, into 24 one-hour time zones (15° longitude each) which
make one full day on Earth. Since the Earth rotates eastwards, the time on the
clock progresses westward round the world.
Thus, 12 o’ clock noon arrives in London (0° longitude) five hours before it does in Washington, DC (75° west of London) and eight hours before it does at San Francisco (120° west of London). When it is noon in London it is midnight 180° to the west. On either side of the 180th meridian the time is the same. But you would lose a day if you crossed it from the east and gain one if you traveled across it from the west. The Date Line has some variations from the 180th meridian to allow for land areas or islands.
The line bulges eastwards through Bering Strait to take in eastern Siberia and then westward to include the Aleutian Islands with Alaska. South of the equator it bulges east again to allow various island groups to have the same day as New Zealand. If we see this imaginary line, then we found, it is not straight but zig-zag line.
But, if it is a straight line, then it demarcates the same land mass into two parts and then both places have different dates on the same day. It would be very inconvenient if one part of a country had one date of the week while another part would have the different date. Hope, you have understood that why International Date Line is not a straight line.