16 facts about Earth you don’t know

| Earth Facts Table |

Mass (1024 kg ): 


5.97

Volume (10km^3): 


1083.21

Equatorial Diameter (km):


12,756

Polar Diameter (km):


12,713.6

Age of the Planet: 


4.5 billion years

Number of Moons: 


1

Surface Temperature Range : 


(- 89 °C ~ 58 °C)

Average Surface Temperature: 


15 °C

Gravity (m/s2):


9.8

Oxygen Level (O2)


21%

Carbon Dioxide Level (CO2):


0.04%

Day Length:


23 hours and 56 minutes

Average Distance from Sun (106 km):


149.6

Closest Distance to Sun (Perihelion) (106 km):


147.1

Furthest Distance from Sun (Aphelion) (106 km):


152.1

Orbit Length: 


940.4 million km

Orbiting velocity (km/h):


107,280

Time to Orbit the Sun (Orbital Period): 


365.25 days

Actual Color: 


Blue, brown, green

Appearance Color: 


Blue, white, brown, green

Atmosphere Thickness:


480 km

Axial Tilt Angle (degrees):


23.44

Time for Sunlight to the planet:

8 minutes and 18 seconds

Magnetic field:

Exist

Ring system: 


Not exist
Earth planet

Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only welcoming place in the solar system. It is also the sole planet with liquid water on its surface. Its unique position and structure are responsible for making Earth so distinguished amongst its neighbors.

Earth boasts an optimal relative proximity to the Sun. This advantageous position produces the perfect temperature on the Earth’s surface, so as to maintain its supply of water in liquid form. However, though close enough to keep temperatures warm, Earth is also far enough away from the Sun to keep temperatures cold enough to prevent extreme water evaporation. This favorable climate scenario is extremely rare in our solar system, and it explains why Earth is able to so successfully support a bright and rich planet of life.

As Earth is the planet we call “home,” it is easy to assume we know everything about it – but there is still so much we have yet to discover. In many ways, Earth is just as mysterious as the farthest planets in our solar system, hiding a multiplicity of stories that scientists uncover day by day.

This article includes the most interesting mysteries and facts about our planet, Earth.

1. There is a massive number of species living on Earth right now.

Scientists estimate that the current number of species that exist on Earth ranges from 2 x106 to 1×1012 species. [1]1.74 million species of these species are databased. [2]

2. More than 99% of the species that have ever lived on Earth are now extinct.

3. It takes around 8 minutes and 18 seconds for sunlight to reach Earth’s surface.

The Earth’s average distance from the Sun is 93 x 10miles (149.6 x 10km). As light moves at speed of 0.186 million miles/s (0.3 million km/s), sunlight needs an average of 498.6 seconds (8 minutes and 18 seconds) to reach Earth’s surface.    

  • When Earth at its closest position to the Sun (Perihelion), sunlight needs 490 Seconds (8 minutes and 10 seconds) to reach Earth’s surface.
  • When Earth at its farthest position from the Sun (Aphelion), sunlight needs 507 seconds (8 minutes and 27 seconds) to reach Earth’s surface.

In summary, light from the Sun requires between 8 minutes and 10 seconds to 8 minutes and 27 seconds to reach Earth, the average time throughout the whole year being 8 minutes and 18 seconds.

4. The rotation of Earth is gradually slowing down.

Earth’s rotation is gradually slowing down. Though this progressive change in speed is so subtle that it escapes our notice, it is effectively changing the length of our day here on Earth. In a statement put forth by NASA, scientists revealed the following information: “We can use extremely accurate atomic clocks to measure exactly how much the rotation is slowing down.” From the data collected by these clocks, NASA has concluded that one hundred years from now, a day on Earth will be around 2 milliseconds longer than it is today. [4]

5. The Moon was once a part of Earth.

Scientists believe that the Moon formed in the aftermath of a collision between Earth and a Mars-sized object. This collision would have spread chunks of Earth into space that would eventually be pulled together by gravity, coming together to produce the Moon. [5]

6. Earth is the largest terrestrial planet.

The volume of Planet Earth is 1,083.21 x109 km3, making it the biggest terrestrial planet in our solar system, the other terrestrial planets being Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. This also makes Earth the fifth largest planet among not just terrestrial planets, but all the planets in our solar system.

7. Water covers 70% of Earth’s surface.

Unlike the majority of planets, Earth isn’t lacking in water: around 70% of Earth’s surface is covered by water. The oceans hold the largest amount of Earth’s water (96.7%) with the remaining water inhabiting rivers, lakes, glaciers, water vapor, and more. Interestingly, when sunlight hits the water in our oceans, blue light is reflected – thus giving Earth its notably blue appearance when seen from space.

8. Earth is the only known place in the universe with liquid water on its surface.

Earth is the only place in the solar system that possesses water in its liquid form. Scientists believe that the following two reasons could be largely accountable for preserving Earth’s water in its liquid state:

  1. Earth has a unique and highly favorable position in the solar system; its distance from the Sun equals 93 million miles (149.6 million km), which also happens to be the optimum distance for keeping the temperature on Earth warm enough for water to stay to remain as a liquid. Though warm enough to keep water as a liquid, Earth’s ideal proximity to the Sun keeps its surface temperature cold enough so as to prevent too much water evaporation. When comparing Earth with its neighbors, Mars and Venus, we find that water does indeed exist on Mars, but in the form of ice as a result of its extremely low temperatures. On the contrary, the case is very different over on the planet of Venus; a planet so hot that all of its water has evaporated.
  1. The thickness of Earth’s atmosphere is ideal for regulating the temperature of Earth’s surface. When we look at the conditions of other planets, we can better understand how atmosphere thickness correlates with a planet’s surface conditions. Mercury is an example of a planet that possesses a very thin atmosphere which causes it to struggle in regulating its surface temperature. Even though Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, its temperature is highly volatile: On Mercury, temperatures can plummet as low as minus 299  °F (minus 184 °C). 

9. A year is not exactly 365 days, but 365.25.

Although a year on Earth is, in fact, not exactly 365 days, it would be quite complicated to have a calendar with 365.25 days in a year. To make things simpler, instead of having a quarter of a day each year, the calendar system instead adds an additional day (what we call a “leap day”) once every four years calling this special year a “leap year.”

10. Earth is the densest planet in the solar system.

Earth’s density is 5,514 kg/m3, making it the densest planet in our solar system.

11. Earth’s atmosphere protects it from incoming meteoroids.

Earth is exposed to a tremendous number of meteoroids that come from comets, asteroids, the Moon, and other planets. These meteoroids can be rocky, metallic, or even a combination of both. Scientists estimate that about 97,000 lbs (44,000 kg) of meteoritic materials advance towards Earth’s surface daily. Without the atmosphere, life on Earth would perhaps be impossible; as it protects Earth from this massive number of meteoroids.

12. Earth is a Germanic word that means “the ground.”

13. The crust layer of Earth is much thinner at the bottom of the ocean than on land.

The thickness of Earth’s crust varies from place to place. Its average thickness is 19 miles (30 km) on land, whereas its average thickness is 3 miles (5 km) at the bottom of the ocean. [6]

14. Life on Earth would be impossible without its magnetic field.

Earth’s magnetic field is a crucial defender of human life; protecting us from fatal ionizing and non-ionizing space radiation.

Interested in learning more? Explore “How does Earth’s magnetic field protect Earth from fatal space radiation?

15. Earth’s magnetic poles might reverse in the future.

It is expected that Earth’s magnetic poles are going to reverse in the future as a result of a phenomenon known as “geomagnetic reversal.” A geomagnetic reversal is a change in a planet’s magnetic field polarities, causing magnetic north and magnetic south to interchange. Scientists point out that the process of geomagnetic reversal is random and unpredictable; it may occur at any time. In the last 20 million years, Earth has experienced around 80 geomagnetic reversals that follow a clear pattern; happening around every 200,000 to 300,000 years.

16. Only 3% of Earth’s water is fresh. The remaining 97% is saltwater. Of that 3%, over 2% is frozen in ice sheets and glaciers. That means less than 1% of freshwater is found in lakes, rivers, and underground.

source: NASA

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