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The 45th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 45 degrees north of Earth's equator. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean. The 45th parallel north is often called the halfway point between the equator and the North Pole, but the true halfway point is actually 16.0 km (9.9 mi) north of the 45th parallel because Earth is an oblate spheroid; that is, it bulges at the equator and is flattened at the poles.[2]

At this latitude, the Sun is visible for 15 hours 37 minutes during the summer solstice, and 8 hours 46 minutes during the winter solstice. The midday Sun stands 21.6° above the southern horizon at the December solstice, 68.4° at the June solstice, and exactly 45.0° at either equinox.[3]

Around the world

Starting at the Prime Meridian and heading eastwards, the parallel 45° north passes through:


In Europe the 45th parallel stretches between the Bay of Biscay coast of France in the west and the Caspian Sea coast of the Russian Caucasus in the east.

In France, it crosses the river Rhône at Pont-de-l'Isère, just north of Valence, Drôme and through Grenoble. It then continues across the Massif Central and into the Aquitaine region. The city of Bordeaux is just south of the parallel.

In northern Italy it parallels the river Po, near Rovigo, passing by Voghera, then just south of Turin before passing into France in the Cottian Alps.

Further west it passes through the Balkans: Romania (just north of Ploieşti, and through Târgu Jiu), the Serbian autonomous province of Vojvodina, the eastern tip of Croatia, the northern edge of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a section of Adriatic Croatia. The capital city of SerbiaBelgrade is just south of the parallel.

In Russia it runs from the west coast of the Caspian Sea to the east coast of the Black Sea, through the Republic of Kalmykia, Stavropol Krai and its capital Stavropol, and Krasnodar Krai and its capital Krasnodar. In Ukraine it crosses the Crimea and its capital Simferopol.


After leaving Russia the parallel passes through southern Kazakhstan, skirting the northern edge of the Ustyurt Plateau. It intersects the city of Burylbaytal at the southern tip of Lake Balkhash and the city of Qyzylorda further west. At the border with Uzbekistan it bisects the Aral Sea and its toxic Vozrozhdeniya Island peninsula, site of an abandoned Soviet bioweapons laboratory.

In northwest China it passes through the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture in Xinjiang and the oil city of Karamay. Transecting southern Mongolia it passes through the provinces of Sükhbaatar, Dornogovi (and its capital Sainshand), Dundgovi, Övörkhangai, Bayankhongor, Govi-Altai, and Khovd. At Khanka Lake it enters northeast China, cutting across Heilongjiang and continuing through part of Jilin and eastern Inner Mongolia.

It leaves the Asian mainland on the coast of Primorsky Krai in Russia, north of Vladivostok and continues through the northern part of the Sea of Japan. It passes through Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park and the adjacent town of Horonobe on the northern tip of Hokkaidō, the northernmost of Japan's main islands, before heading east across the North Pacific Ocean.

North America

Throughout the United States the parallel is marked in many places on highways by a sign proclaiming that the location is halfway between the North Pole and the equator.[4][5][1]

The 45th parallel forms some boundaries of or passes through many U.S. states: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, as well as going through the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Going from west to east, the line makes landfall at the Pacific coast in Oregon. After crossing Idaho, it makes up most of the boundary between Montana and Wyoming. It then passes through the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains and further east roughly bisects the metropolitan area of Minneapolis-St. Paul.

In Michigan, the Old Mission Peninsula in Grand Traverse Bay ends just shy of the 45th parallel. Many guidebooks and signs at the Mission Point Lighthouse describe it as being halfway between the equator and north pole. When the Grand Traverse Bay recedes below normal level, it is possible to walk out to the exact line.

Further east, the 45th parallel roughly marks the Canada–United States border between the St. Lawrence and Connecticut rivers, between the states of New York and Vermont and the Canadian province of Quebec. The parallel is sometimes called the "Canada line". The actual boundary of Vermont lies approximately 1 kilometre (3,300 ft) north of the parallel due to an error in the 1772 survey.[6]

All of mainland New Brunswick lies north of the 45th parallel. Approximately two-thirds of Deer Island, plus all of Campobello and Grand Manan islands, are south of the 45th parallel.

The parallel roughly bisects mainland Nova Scotia. Halifax is approximately 40 km (25 mi) south of the parallel.

See also

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