Amazing Facts About Earth
Our home planet Earth is beautiful and fascinating. It is the third planet from the Sun and the only planet not named after a God. Earth is the densest planet and the fifth largest planet in terms of size and mass. Our home planet was formed around 4.54 billion. Read on to know 10 Amazing Facts About Earth.
1. A year on Earth isn’t 365 days:
A year on Earth is really 365.2564 days. This extra 2564 day creates the Leap Year once every four years. This is why we turn on an extra day in February every four years. There was a planet Theia, it was knocked out of her orbit and collided with the Earth. Together they formed another planet, Moon.
2. The Earth’s rotation is gradually slowing:
At approximately 17 milliseconds per hundred years, the earth’s rotation is gradually slowing down. Although the rate is not perfectly uniform, it has the effect of lengthening our days. But it happens on such a slow rate that it could take as much as 140 million years before the length of a day will have increased to 25 hours.
3. Earth’s rotation on its Axis doesn’t take 24 hours:
Earth’s rotation actually takes approximately 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4 seconds. This rotation is called “sidereal day”, the length of time it takes a planet to rotate from the perspective of a distant star, respect to the distant “fixed” stars. But our calendars and clocks are based on the Sun, whose position relative to us ha a bigger effect on our lives.
Earth’s axis is also tilted causing the occurrence of seasons. This tilt changes in time and because of that the seasons can become exaggerated, resulting in warmer summers and colder winters. Earth is also the only planet in the solar system where water can be present in all the three states – solid, liquid and gas.
4. Earth is not a perfect sphere:
Earth is not a perfect sphere or round in shape, it has a bulge at the equator. The shape of Earth is an oblate spheroid because of its rotation. It is slightly squashed at its poles and slightly swollen at the equator. Also, the Earth has only one natural satellite, the moon. It has a diameter of 2,159.2 miles, and it is the fifth biggest moon in the solar system. Still, the moon is 27 percent the size of Earth, a much smaller ratio (1:4) than any other planets and their moons in our solar system.
5. Earth’s atmosphere constantly shines:
Known as ‘airglow’, this phenomenon occurs when atoms and molecules in the upper atmosphere, excited by sunlight, emit light to shed their excess energy. It can also happen when atoms and molecules that have been ionized by sunlight collide with and capture a free electron. They eject photon, a particle of light, to rest again. This event is similar to auroras but unlike auroras, airglow constantly shines. The difference is, auroras are driven by high-energy particles originating from the solar wind where airglow is energized by ordinary, day-to-day solar radiation.
6. The continents are drifting:
Earth is the only planet that has Plate Tectonics and the tectonic plates that continents sit on are constantly in motion and can drift toward and away from one another. Averagely, America moves about one inch further away from Europe and Africa per year. This phenomenon is called continental drift.
This continental drift resulted in the creation of the Himalayas. And it still continues as the Himalayas are still rising. The highest mountain on Earth, Mount Everest is rising about 4 millimeters per year on average. While the western-most peak of the Himalayas and the world’s ninth-highest at 8,126 meters, Nanga Parbat is growing faster than any other sizable region on Earth at a rate of 7 mm/year. At this rate about 241,000 years from now, the Nanga Parbat will be the world’s highest mountain.
The oceans cover 71% of the Earth’s surface. The Antartica, the biggest desert on Earth, contains 90% of the world’s ice which is about 70% of the world’s fresh water. And if all of that ice melted, sea levels would rise about 60 meters or 200 ft. And because of global warming its more of a possibility now. If the sea level does rise up by 3 meters or 10 feet, cities like Venice, London, New Orleans, and New York, would be under water.
8. Magnetic Poles of Earth move:
Due to magnetic changes in the Earth’s core, the magnetic poles of Earth move. But since the Earth’s magnetic field is not really symmetrical, the North and South Magnetic Poles are not antipodal, which means that a straight line drawn from one to the other won’t pass through the geometric center of the Earth. The positions of magnetic north and magnetic south also interchange, known as the “Geomagnetic reversal”.
9. Earth’s Core:
Earth’s core is as hot as the surface of the Sun and it has a powerful magnetic field due to the nickel-iron core of the planet united with its rapid rotation. This powerful field protects the Earth from the effects of the solar wind. The solid iron core of iron has a radius of about 760 miles.
10. The Best Recycler is Earth:
The Earth regularly recycles itself and its surface. As the rock cycle transforms Volcanic rock into Sedimentary rock, it gets transformed into Metamorphic rock and then repeats itself, over and over.
Also, there is a huge underground river present 4,000 meters (13,000 ft) below the Amazon. The Amazon produces 20% of the world’s oxygen and this is why it is described as the Lungs of Our Planet.