Our home planet is Earth. That much is quite obvious to everyone inhabiting it. As far as we know, it is the only home for any life in the universe.
The Earth is rocky, has a solid crust, a nickel-iron core, and a hot molten handle. It also features seven continents, vast oceans, and two polar caps.
Interestingly, our home planet is the only one not to have its name derived from Greek or Roman mythology. According to Romans, the goddess of Earth was Tellus, which meant fertile soil.
The Greek goddess of Earth was Gaia, also known as Mother Earth. The name we use today, Earth, originates from Old English and Germanic.
This list features the six things you should know about our world. Some seem obvious, some might be genuine surprises, but all are things worth knowing.
1. Space travel allows us to see the entire planet: Thanks to space travel, we’re able to observe our planet globally, like we do with other planets. Sensitive instruments allow us to understand the balance of Earth’s oceans, land, air, and life.
Viewing the planet from space gives a unique opportunity to view it as a whole. By working together and sharing findings from here, scientists have discovered many things about the planet.
2. Earth has a magnetic field: The rapid spin of our planet, combined with that nickel-core discussed earlier, creates a magnetic field. It does not fade off into space, but definitely has boundaries.
Solar winds distort it and charged particles can become trapped within it. They collide with air particles above Earth’s magnetic poles and begin to glow. They’re known as the aurorae or the Northern and Southern Lights.
3. Early philosophers thought it was the center of the universe: Aristarchus of Samos, who lived in the 3rd century B.C., figured out how to measure the size and distances to the sun and moon. His findings allowed him to correctly learn that Earth orbits the sun.
The Catholic church disagreed, thinking it blasphemous that Earth wasn’t the center of it all. In 1543, a Polish astronomer named Nicolaus Copernicus published work that made the idea acceptable. However, the sun is not the known center of the entire cosmic universe, just our solar system.
4. Earth is the fifth largest planet: At the equator, the diameter of Earth is 12,742km or 7,926 miles. However, that’s not the whole story.
Our planet is not a perfect sphere, despite the way it looks in images. It’s slightly flattened at the poles, so the diameter measured around the poles is slightly less due to those flat points.
5. Earth is the third planet from the sun: As most people know, the sun is at the center of our solar system. All the planets in that solar system orbit the sun.
Earth is one of the “inner planets,” along with Mercury, Venus, and Mars. Earth sits between Venus and Mars, at an average distance of 92,955,820 miles from the sun.
6. Earth has one natural satellite: Luna, Earth’s moon, orbits at a distance of 384,000 km, or 238,000 miles. It is the only natural satellite of our planet.
There are thousands of much smaller artificial satellites that have been placed to orbit Earth. Since they’re not moons, they’re considered to be more like a companion of sorts.