Why are there only 360 degrees in a circle?

juggling animals

That question was asked in one of my classes recently. I’ve been pondering this now for a couple of days. Why isn’t a circle 361 degrees, or 365, or 720, or 1? Where/when/how/why did 360 become the *magic* number of degrees?

Calling all mathematicians, astronomers, historians, musicians, physicists, cheaters & priests!

Come to my aid and answer this question!

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15 thoughts on “Why are there only 360 degrees in a circle?

  1. it’s something to do with the Babylons and how they were fond of the number 60 there is also, there are 60 degrees in each angle in an equilateral triangle and there are 6 triangles in a hexagon and that makes 360 degrees.

  2. There used to be only 360 days in the year. That is per various ancient texts. The Mayan state that the added 5 days are foreboding ones. Whatever caused our axis to be on a tilt did this. The ancient Greek myth is that Venus came out of Jupiter’s head and some say that this may not have been a myth at all but fact. The red dot may be the evidence of this. Are you going to delete this one now too? You would allow someone to respond to another commenter as being gay but delete the information from my previous post. I’m sorry for you. Release the ego to find the true self.

  3. If anyone is interested I have had coins made presenting some of my working. The front of the coin shows the reason and why for 360 degrees in a circle but is not big enought to show the precise relationship which is based on circles. The site for the company I used is http://www.coinsforanything.com and no the coins are not for sale I present them to people I encounter who will listen to my ravings, but it can be viewed in the sample coin section as coin #244. It is also the design on the front and back of my so called book of which I am having trouble writing since I am not a writer.
    The company refers to it as Absolute/Relative coin.

  4. Let me try again—

    You measure a circle with another circle or at least use circles to produce relationships.
    Here is a product a spin off discovery that I have put in a spot in my boring book that I am trying to write to explain why there are 360 degrees in a circle. If I ever get it done it will present the answer but until then here is a tidbit.
    It contains knowledge that is, in part already known, but presents a general relationship between a straight line and a circle that is not known openly until now.
    To start with create (draw) the simple Dyad, Venn diagram, Villarceau circles or whatever one wishes to call it which is also stated to be a construct of two circles of common radius. The common radius of the Dyad set to the value of one, or unity, for simplicity.
    What is known today about this construct is that where the two circles intersect each other, a line drawn between these intersections has the relative length of square root of three times the common radius.
    A straight line drawn from the top of one of the circles to the bottom of the other has the relationship that is the square root of five times the common radius.
    And of course a square drawn within one of the circles has sides equal to the square root of two. Also the golden ratio is known within.
    But a relationship that is not known but was brought out during the path of discovery of why 360 degrees in a circle is that –
    When the longest width of the dyad is inscribed with a straight line (drawn through both centers that intersects both circumferences) is divided by 12 equal spaces or lengths or one eighth of the common radius, and thirteen vertical lines at 90 degrees to this are drawn that intersect the Dyad circles circumferences a relationship surfaces. When straight line segments are drawn from each of these intersections to its opposite intersecting point or from one circumference to the other through the center of the Dyad, each line will-
    First and the following lines drawn in this manor will be in direct relationship to the length of the common radius. The first or smallest of these relative lines drawn is the common radius itself with a value of square root of one.
    To view the relationship the notation needs to be the same such as the common radius is not just a length of one or a line it is a two dimensional reference therefore is noted from here on as the square root of one not just one. Also the center of the Dyad is referred to as the square root of zero maintaining a two dimensional notation.
    The next largest line segment drawn between two opposite intersecting points being internal to the dyad – the square root of two-
    Of course the next being the square root of three-
    Then the square root of four –
    Then again the square root of five-
    Then square root of six-
    Square root of seven-
    Square root of eight-
    And finally the longest line segment created in this fashion being the square root of nine which is in the same orientation as the square root of one line segment.
    The resulting pattern is a sequence of square root of whole or natural numbers, integers of, 0-9.
    It much simpler to draw which is the same method as the path to why there is 360 degrees in a circle. The point is you have to draw and view the relationship to know.
    The problem to that which is above is that although you will see the relationship you will be unlikely to explain why the relationship exists.
    And the relationship continues if the dyad is further divided again resulting in 24 horizontal divisions only the lines will follow the pattern of square roots of 0, 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5 etc.
    This has always been present since the Star of David or the six pointed star that fits within a given circle horizontal divides the diameter of that circle into four equal lengths. But the value of this observance was not seen. If you view the diameter of a circle as the square root of four times the radius then you will be able to see this relationship in just one circle. The line segments starting at the intersecting point of the diameter and circumference (square root of zero) will be; square root of one (the radius), square root of two, square root of three and the diameter being the square root of four.
    Could this be why we have a ten or decimal based numbering system or is it just a coincidence?
    Another method is to draw the Dyad with a common radius of one and then draw concentric circles with their diameters the value of square root of two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight and nine. Then draw vertical lines 90 degrees to the common radius between opposite intersecting points of the same circle.
    It brings to light an obvious but not perceived relationship when using square roots as values within Pythagorean Theorem. A square with the sides the value square root of one produces a hypotenuse with the value of square root of two. If the resulting hypotenuse is repositioned to replace one of the sides of the square making it a rectangle the hypotenuse will be the square root of three so on and so on.
    Also the increase in area of concentric circles from one to the next with radiuses in sequence of the square root of natural numbers, 1,2,3,4,5 etc is the value pie. So the area of a circle with a radius of the square root of two is just two times pie (duh).
    Sacred Geometry what was known was lost but can be found again. Such as why are there 7 days in a week, 12 months in a year, 24 hours in a day and 360 degrees in a circle. Even the original 56 chalk holes of Stonehenge can and will be shown that they all are related and derived from Sacred Geometry preformed with the ability of primitive man before the concepts of abstract math.
    Nodal3

  5. You measure a circle with another circle.

    Here is a product from the of discovery that I have put in my boring book if I ever get it done will present the answer.

    Knowledge that is, in part known, but produces a relationship that is not known openly until now.

    Create (draw) the simple dyad, two circles of common radius. The radius being one.

    What is known is the where the two circles intersect a line drawn between them is the square root of three times the radius.

    A line drawn from the top most and bottom most (a name for this I do not remember) is the square root of five.

    And of course a square drawn within one of the circles has sides equal to the square root of two. Also the golden ratio is known within.

    But a relationship that is not known but was brought out during the path of discovery of why 360 degrees in a circle is that –

    when the longest width of the dyad ( a line drawn through both centers that intersects both circumference) is divided by 12 equal spaces or lengths or one eighth of the common radius, from one side to the other and vertical lines (90 degree) to this are drawn that intersect the circles circumferences then straight line segments are drawn from opposites intersecting points or from one circumference to the other, each line will-

    when drawn through the center of the dyad (the center reference being the square root of zero) – the first and the following will be in relation the length of the common radius the first being the radius itself with a value of square root of one.

    The next largest line segment internal to the dyad – the square root of two-

    of course the next being the square root of three-

    then the square root of four –

    then again the square root of five-

    then square root of six-

    square root of seven-

    square root of eight-

    and finally the longest line segment created in this fashion the square root of nine which is in the same orientation as the square root of one line segment.

    Resulting in a pattern sequence of square root of whole or natural numbers 0-9.

    It much simpler to draw which is as the path to why there is 360 degrees in a circle. The point is you have to draw and view the relationship to know.

    The problem to that which is above is although you will see the relationship you will be unlikely to explain why the relationship exist.

    And the relationship continues if the dyad is further divided again resulting in 24 horizontal divisions only the lines will follow the pattern of square roots of 0, 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5 etc.

    This has always been present since the star of David or the six pointed star that fits within a given circle horizontal divides the diameter of that circle into four equal lengths. but the value of this observance was not seen.

    Could this be why we have a ten or decimal based numbering system or is it just a coincidence?

    Sacred Geometry what was know was lost but can be found again. Such as why are there 7 days in a week, 12 months in a year, 24 hours in a day and 360 degrees in a circle. Can and will be shown they are all related and derived from Sacred Geometry preformed with the ability of primitive man before the concepts of abstract math.

    Nodal3

  6. Pingback: Springing into Spring? « The Teacher’s Journal

  7. David B…. yes, I study all forms of astrology. My profiency, is in western & vedic. I can appreciate both points of view….they are quite balanced in their respective duality. Spiritual practice helps me to integrate the information without getting caught up in the “Who’s right/wrong” debate.

  8. Came by from your post on my blog. Saw your question about 360, responded and then noticed your astrology links. With your references to Ganesh, do you study eastern astrology? Its not obvious. But its like night and day compared to western.

  9. Your question goes into not only how we divide space, but time as well. Its origins are somewhere in deep antiquity. When Vega was the north star long long ago (about 14,000 years), astrologer/astronomers divided the heavens into 28 constellations. Somewhere later, through precession, the skys shifted and the old divisions broke down. A new system of dividing the heavens into 12 constellations arose, each divided by 30 (12 x 30 = 360). We call this the Zodiac now. The 360 degree circle. You also see this in 12 months (with some odd days out) and 7 days of a week, named after the 7 “planets” then accepted. Sunday, Moonday, Marsday, and so on. Even the sequence of the days matches the eastern astrological sequence of planets – not in the sky but in the way their influence is said to cycle in time.

    Its also in the 12 hours of day and of night and the time zones of the world. And the Longitudes (180 E and W) and Latitudes (90 N and S).

    Western astrology made an error about 2,000 years ago when it fixed the constellations. Again due to precession, they are now almost an entire sign off. Its no wonder astronomy and astrology have drifted apart.

    The short answer – its from ancient astrology/astronomy.

    Why does the North star change?
    http://ms.essortment.com/northstarastro_rmdz.htm
    http://www.siennasoft.com/stargazer/1186.shtml

  10. I will come back to see if anyone knows “why 360?” Our measurement systems, in some of our cultures, anyway, are based in either multiples of 12 or of 10, and the 360 degree circle seems to be one of the “12” ones. In any event, the picture you posted of the animals (going around in a circle) brightened my day! 🙂

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