# Easternmost state

The quite lame trivia page-a-day calendar I got for Christmas recently asked which U.S. State is the furthest east.
I answered (to no one in particular) that it was Maine.

However, the makers of the calendar insist that it is Alaska because parts of the Aleutian chain are on the eastern side of the 180th Meridian.

I found this explanation quite unsatisfying. Since the determination of the 0 Meridian was rather arbitrary, doesn’t it make more sense that “easternmost” and “westernmost” in the US by looking at the country in its entirety without any arbitrary meridians of longitude on it?

It’s not like a compass needle suddenly changes direction when you cross the Prime Meridian or the 180th Meridian.

I agree with what you’re saying, BobT. I think the calendar was trying to be overly clever. After all, if I’m standing on the furthest (from the mainland) Aleutian island and looking back towards Alaska, I’m not going to say Alaska is west of me.

But here’s a puzzler for you: what if the USA started adding new states and had a new state in every other meridian? What would the eastern-most state be then?

*Arnold Winkelried: But here’s a puzzler for you: what if the USA started adding new states and had a new state in every other meridian? What would the eastern-most state be then? *

Huh?

A meridian is a line. Nothing can be “in” a line.

Oops! You’re right AWB. I said it wrong. I meant «in every other “slice” that you see on a world map that has a vertical lines drawn in increments of 15° longitude.»

What would be the better way of saying that?

After I watched the TV movie of “Longitude” and read the book by Dava Sobel of the same name, I’ve developed a new respect for longitude.

Huh?

A meridian is a line. Nothing can be “in” a line.
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I was in a line at the bank the other day Cant remember if i was east or west though.

I’ve heard the same lame trivia question before, and being from Maine, I can say that I’m not amused in the least. To follow this sort of logic to its natural conclusion, you must admit that the “easternmost” land in the U.S. (the eastern edge of Semisopochnoi Island) and “westernmost” point of land (the western edge of Amatignak Island) are separated by only about 60 miles. The United States is therefore only 60 miles wide.

Back to reality: the easternmost and westernmost points are West Quoddy Head, Maine, and Cape Wrangell on Attu Island in the Aleutians. They are separated by something close to 5,000 miles.

–The former British Empire?

So, using those points, what would be the halfway point in terms of longitude for the US?

Only about a hundred miles off the coast of Washington state.

Hmm. That Alaska. Must be a big place.

Alaska and the Aleutian Islands are mind-bogglingly long. I was on board the USS Juneau over the summer as it travelled from Juneau Alaska to Sasebo, Japan. It was about a week out of Juneau when we finally started getting away from Alaska. Granted, we were doing about 15 knots, if that, for the trip. Still, everyone was amazed at the amount of time spent in the vicinity of Alaska. Well, many of us were also quite annoyed, as the fog meant that (according to the rules of navigation) the ships whistle was to be blown every two minutes or so. Even with earplugs I could barely manage a few uncomfortable hours of sleep before having to head down to the boiler room to see what the EEOW does. By the fourth night of this, I was quite tired.

Yes, but the eastern most point of Russia is virtually the same point as the western most point, and therefore Russia is about *this[/] tiny, so it’s still cool.