Earth – Our Home Planet, How Big is it?

Earth – Our Home Planet, How Big is it?
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The total circumference of the planet totals 24860 miles.

Our home, our planet, our Earth. We live on this planet; we thrive and we enjoy all the blessings from the Creator on this land.  Earth is the third planet from the Sun. It is the only place we know so far, that supports life – all the living beings. But let us clarify, Earth is not the biggest of the planets in our solar system. By size, it is the 5th largest among others. But it is for sure the only planet that has water in its liquid form. The size of Earth is closer to that of Venus, which is made of all rock and metals.

But exactly how big is Earth?

Let’s take a look at some other details before we answer that question.

The Name

The name of our planet is at least 1000 years old. Except for the name Earth, the rest of all planets are named after Roman and Greek goddesses or gods. Earth, however, is derived from a Germanic word meaning, the ground.

The Only Planet with Life

Earth is the only planet in our solar system that provides a hospitable environment, temperature, and chemical composition that supports life. One of the most surprising things is though water reserves have been found even on Mars, Earth is the only planet that has water in its liquid state, and not only that, it covers most of the surface of the planet. Earth has provided a convenient place for life to propagate that began around 3.8 billion years ago. Unfortunately, due to global warming, these suitable conditions are highly endangered.

Earth and its Size

According to NASA (Goddard Flight Center in Maryland, Earth has a radius of 3963 miles around the equator. But contrary to normal belief, Earth is not an exact sphere. Due to its rotation, it bulges out near the equator. It has a polar radius of 3950 miles which equals 6356 km with a difference of 13 miles.

By considering these measurements, the total circumference of the planet totals 24860 miles. The shape can be better called an oblate spheroid due to the flattening around its poles. These numbers make Earth a little bigger than Venus which has a radius of 3761 miles near its equator. Mars, however, is smaller than both Venus and Earth, with a total radius of 2110 miles around its equator. But Earth and its other rocky mates are pretty much smaller than the gas giant in the solar system. Just for an example, around 1300 Earth will make up Jupiter.

As for the distance from the middle point, Sun, it has an average distance of 93m miles from the burning giant. That makes it exactly one astronomical unit far from the Sun. An astronomical unit is used to measure the distance from the Sun. this unit is very helpful in measuring the distance of planets from the Sun. For instance, it would take eight minutes from the Sun for the light to reach other planets.

Volume, Mass and Density of Earth

Earth has a density of 5.513 grams per cubic centimeter. These figures have been confirmed by NASA, making Earth the densest planet in the entire solar system due to its metallic core and rocky peaks. Despite being 318 times bigger than Earth, Jupiter has a low density as it is mostly comprised of gases, such as hydrogen.

Earth has a mass of 6.6 sextillion tons that makes 5.9722 x 1024 kgs. While has a volume of 260 billion cubic miles (nearing around 1 trillion cubic km).

With all these statistics, Earth has a total surface area of around 197 million square miles. Amazing! Right?

Now let’s talk about the massive water reserves. This massive surface area of Earth has huge water reserves, accounting for a total of around 71% of the total Earth’s surface and only 29% of the land. Let’s compare it with that of Venus. The total surface area of Venus is nearly around 178 million squares, while Mars has about 56 million square miles.

Earth’s Structure

Earth is comprised of four layers. It starts from an inner core that lies in the center of the planet, covered by an outer core, mantle, and then lies the crust.

The inner core is quite solid gaining its strength from the nickel metals and iron that make up around 759 miles in total radius. The core has a very temperature that reaches as high as 9800 degrees Fahrenheit. An outer core envelopes this inner core. This layer is around 1400 miles thick and is made up of primary nickel and iron fluids.

In between the crust and the outer core lies the mantle. This is the thickest layer. It comprises a viscous and thick mixture of hot molten rocks that is about 1800 miles, having a consistency similar to caramel. The outermost layer, called the crust, is 19 miles in depth, roughly, on the land surface. The crust is much thinner at the ocean bottom and extends around 3 miles from the seafloor to the mantle layer.

Earth’s Surface

Similar to Venus and Mars, Earth’s surface has mountains, volcanoes, and valleys. The lithosphere of Earth, including the crust, and the outer mantle, is divided into huge, constantly moving plates. For instance, North American plates move to the west of the basin of the Pacific Ocean, crudely equal to the growth of our fingernails. When these plates move and grind against each other, we experience earthquakes. The collision of these plates forms the mountains. These movements can also cause either splits or separations.

The global ocean of our planet, which accounts for up to 70% of Earth, is on average 2.5 meters deep, containing 97% of the entire water reserves of our planet. Almost all the volcanoes on Earth lie hidden under these ocean beds. Hawaii’s Volcano of Mauna Kea is taller than Mount Everest if we take into account its height from base to the summit. Although most of its height is below the water. The longest mountain range on the Earth is under the water, at the bottom of the Atlantic and Arctic oceans. The range is four times the size of the Rockies, Andes and Himalayas combined.

Lowest & Highest Points of Earth

We all know, that Mount Everest is the highest peak on the Earth. It is above sea level at 29032 feet. But it cannot be taken as the highest point on the Earth. The most distant place on the Earth is the place that is the farthest from the Earth’s center. This distinction belongs to Mount Chimaboraza which is in the Andes Mountains, Ecuador. This is accredited by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Even though this mountain is 10000feet shorter than Everest, it still has 6800 feet farther into space due to the equatorial bulge.

However, Everest and Chimborazo are not even near the tallest mountain in our Solar System. The peak from the Rheasilvia Crater on the Vesta asteroid is around 14 miles tall. The huge Mons volcano of Mars, is almost as high at precisely 13.6 miles, covering an area of the size of Arizona.

As the lowest point of the Earth, it is the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench that is in the Western Pacific Ocean. It stretches 36200 feet below sea level.

Earth’s Atmosphere

Earth surely has an atmosphere that supports the existence of life. The composition contradicts the belief that we merely need oxygen to live. Our planet’s atmosphere is made up of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% of other gases (including carbon dioxide, argon, and neon). This atmosphere has a direct impact on the long-term and short-term climate. That protects us from adverse local weather. This also saves us from the harmful radiations reaching t us from the Sun. this also protects us from having a massive meteoroid attack. With the natural composition of the atmosphere, these meteoroids get destroyed in the sky before they can strike the Earth’s surface.

Earth’s Magnetosphere

Earth has the most rapid rotation and molten nickel-iron giving rise to a remarkable magnetic field. This field distorts a teardrop shape in the space. When particles (charged) drop from the solar wind and enters this magnetic field, they collide with the molecules of air, above Earth’s magnetic poles. These molecules then begin to glow creating northern and southern lights.

Also Read: There are eight continents and not seven in the world

This magnetic field is what causes the compass needle to point North, irrespective of whichever direction we are in. but this magnetic polarity can change or even flip the direction of this magnetic field. But as far as the scientists know, this reversal in the magnetic field does not have harmful effects on the life that exists on the planet.

Earth is a remarkable planet that has a natural composition that allows many wonders to exist. Out of all which is life itself. Even though there has been extensive research about it, there is still much more that remains to be uncovered. None the less, it makes it much more important to care for this precious planet.

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