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Many Things About Earth and Our Solar System You May Not Know

by Michael J Trigg 25 days ago in Science

Not to mention the known universe.

Many Things About Earth and Our Solar System You May Not Know
Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash

Planet Earth is the best place in the universe to live – so far.

Unlike mythical gods of both today and of past ages, the earth is not mean-spirited, capricious, or spiteful. It just is. The fact that earth sustains us with a perfect atmosphere; oceans that support an incredible variety of life, a biosphere that does the same for birds and land animals and us humans along with a moon that provides us with the wonder of tidal seas is remarkable. And, all the more so when you consider the following:

The surface of the earth has a rotation speed of 360 meters a second at the earth’s equator. This equals 1,000 miles per hour or 1,600 kilometers per hour for the metric minded.

The earth's diameter is 26 miles (50 kilometers) wider at the equator than from pole to pole.

The earth moves through space at 30 kilometers a second or 67,000 miles or 108,000 kilometers per hour.

Our planetary cousin Saturn completes a rotation in 10.5 earth hours and revolves at 22,000 miles per hour or 35,000 kms per hour if you are European. Not a place for humans.

Life on earth is only possible due to a nuclear furnace we call the sun.

Our sun is so large that it would take about 1,300,000 planet earths to equal its size.

By Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Every second of every day, the sun consumes 4.5 billion tons of hydrogen.

Luckily, hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe.

The core of the sun is 15 million degrees. Centigrade or Fahrenheit? Does it matter?

Looking at the sun and moon from earth, they both look the same size. They are not. See the following.

The moon is 1/400th the diameter of the sun. It is also 1/400th as far from the earth as the sun making them the same size in the sky. An interesting coincidence not shared by any other planet and moon in our solar system.

The moon is locked tidally to the earth and therefore shows only one face to us human viewers. Therefore, the man in the moon is always looking at us.

Light takes 8 and a half minutes to reach the earth from the sun. Therefore, we would not know the sun had gone out until almost 9 minutes after the fact. Then, it's really lights out.

The moon is a bit more than one-fourth, or 27 percent the size of Earth.

The moon is actually from the Earth, It is a chunk that was knocked off when the Earth was being formed back in the early days.

By Neven Krcmarek on Unsplash

The earth’s atmosphere is 480 kilometers deep but only the bottom 16 kilometers can be considered livable for human and animal life. The upper part? Not so much.

The earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago, give or take a few years.

The earliest undisputed evidence of life on earth dates from around 3.5 billion years ago. It was not human. But, it was the very early us.

65 million years ago, a ten trillion-ton asteroid (yes, that is trillion) crashed into the earth into what is now the Yucatan Peninsula. That was the end of the dinosaurs. And, the beginning of us.

The first human-like being appeared around 7 million years ago. They did not look like us.

Homo-sapiens, our genre appeared between 100,000 and 150,000 years ago. They lived alongside our Neanderthal cousins.

99.9 percent of species that ever existed on earth have gone extinct including 23 other groups of humans. Where did they go?

There are an estimated 8.7 million species on the planet at this date. Humans are just one of them. Imagine.

Water covers 75% of the earth’s surface. Why isn't our planet called Water?

The tallest mountain on earth is the island of Hawaii. True. It's just a lot of it is under water.

The tallest mountain in our solar system is on Mars. Olympus Mons is 65,000 feet tall and 300 miles wide at its base. Everest by comparison is 29,000 feet.

We humans know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the depths of the earth's oceans.

Our nearest neighboring star, Proxima Centauri, is mind boggling 40,208,000,000,000 kms away from our star or if you prefer, 24,000,000,000,000 miles.

Traveling at the speed of light, 186,000 miles a second, it would take 4.22 light-years to reach Proxima Centauri.

There is no other life outside of planet earth to the best of current knowledge.

The boundary of our solar system is 143.73 billion kilometers from the sun giving our solar system a diameter of 287.46 billion kilometers. Go here to calculate that in miles.

By Yong Chuan Tan on Unsplash

Our solar system is located 26,500 light-years from the center of the Milky Way Galaxy and is located about halfway along a spiral arm. We orbit the center of the Milky Way about once every 240 million years.

There is estimated there are over 100 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy.

Using the Hubble Telescope, astronomers estimate there may be 2 trillion galaxies in the universe.

And we humans live on a little blue marble in a tiny solar system in a pokey little corner of a galaxy that is one of an estimated two trillion galaxies in the known universe.

I think the emphasis is on the word "known".

The Author

Science
Michael J Trigg
Michael J Trigg
Read next: How The Secret to Effective Metabolism Can Keep You Out of Trouble
Michael J Trigg

I have taken up writing in my retirement; more for a desire to write than for the money. At age 77, I have long been a writer of letters to the editor, to politicians, and various publications.

See all posts by Michael J Trigg

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