The International Date Line (IDL) is an imaginary line on the surface of the Earth, that runs from the north to the south pole and demarcates one calendar day from the next. It passes through the middle of the Pacific Ocean, roughly following the 180° longitude but it deviates to pass around some territories and island groups.
The International Date line is on the opposite side of the Earth to the Prime Meridian. The Prime Meridian helps to define Universal Time and is the meridian from which all other time zones are calculated. Time zones to the east of the Prime Meridian are in advance of UTC (up to UTC+14); time zones to the west are behind UTC (to UTC-12).
The International Date Line and the moving point of midnight separate the two calendar days that are current somewhere on Earth. However, during a two-hour period between 10:00 and 11:59 (UTC) each day, three different calendar days are in use. This is because of daylight saving in the UTC+12 zone and the use of additional date-shifted time zones in areas east of the 180th meridian. These additional time zones results in the standard time and date in some communities being 24 or 25 hours different from the standard time and date in others.
A traveler crossing the International Date Line eastbound subtracts one day, or 24 hours, so that the calendar date to the west of the line is repeated after the following midnight. Crossing the IDL westbound results in 24 hours being added, advancing the calendar date by one day. The International Date Line is necessary to have a fixed, albeit arbitrary, boundary on the globe where the calendar date advances in the westbound direction.
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