Earth – Our Mother Land

Our Motherland Earth is the only known planet that nurtures life.

Hey! Where do you live? There are around 200 countries, where do you live? May be you would be living in any of these countries.

But where do these countries are? Those must be in any one of the 7 continents of Asia, Europe, Africa, South America, North America, Australia, or maybe the frozen land of Antarctica.

Where do we actually live? What is our exact address? We all live here on Earth. Some are living in Asia, some are in Africa, and some in the Americas or Europe and Australia.

But all these are just a piece of land acquired by a few diplomats and politicians. Although it is good for us to be divided in various countries on our motherland Earth.

We are living on this Earth and it is our lonely land to live. So, today we are going to study about our motherland Earth in the solar system…  

Introduction and Name

Our home planet is the third planet from the Sun, and the only place we know of so far that’s inhabited by living things.

Earth is the fifth-largest planet and the only world in our solar system with liquid water on the surface. 

It is slightly larger (around 328 km) than nearby Venus. Earth is the biggest of the four planets closest to the Sun, all of which are made of rock and metal.

The name Earth is not less than 1,000 years old. All of the planets ere named after Greek and Roman gods and goddesses, except for Earth. The name Earth is a Germanic word, which means “the ground.”

Also Read – Sun – Master of the Solar System

Size and Distance

Earth is the biggest of the terrestrial planets, with a radius of 3,959 miles (6,371 kilometers), and the fifth-largest planet overall.

It is 150 million kilometers away from the sun. Later, this distance becomes the unit of space distance which we call Astronomical Unit or AU.

Earth is exactly one astronomical unit away from the Sun because one astronomical unit (abbreviated as AU), as AU is defined in the terms distance from the Sun to Earth. 

This unit makes it easy to quickly compare planets’ distances from the Sun. It is about eight light minutes away from the sun.

So, the sunlight takes approx eight minutes to travel from the Sun to our planet.

Orbit and Rotation

On its orbit, Earth completes one rotation every 23.9 hours. 

It takes around 365.25 days to complete one revolution around the Sun. That extra  0.25 day presents a challenge to our calendar system, which makes one year in 365 days. 

To keep our yearly calendars consistent with our orbit around the Sun, every four years we add one day, that is the 29th day of Feb. 

So, the 29th day of Feb is called a leap day, and the year it’s added to is called a leap year. Earth’s axis of rotation is tilted by 23.4 degrees with respect to the plane of Earth’s orbital path around the Sun. 

This tilt causes our yearly cyclic seasons and weather.  When the northern hemisphere is tilted toward the Sun then the southern hemisphere is tilted away. 

With the Sun higher in the sky, solar heating is much greater in the north producing summer there. Less direct solar heating makes the south cool. 

After six months, the situation reversed and When spring and fall begin, both hemispheres receive roughly equal amounts of heat from the Sun. 

Formation

When the solar system settled into its current layout about 4.5 billion years ago. Earth formed when gravity pulled swirling gas and dried mud in to become the third planet from the Sun.

Like its fellow terrestrial planets, Earth features a central core, a rocky mantle, and a solid crust.  

Structure

Earth is made of four main layers, which start with an inner core at the planet’s center, covered by the outer core, mantle, and crust.

The inner core is a like solid spherical ball made of iron and nickel metals about 759 miles (1,221 kilometers) in radius. 

There, the temperature is very high as 9,800 degrees Fahrenheit (5,400 degrees Celsius). The inner core is surrounded by the outer core. 

This layer is around 1,400 miles (2,300 kilometers) thick, consists of iron and nickel fluids. The mantle is in between the outer core and crust which is the thickest layer.

This hot, viscous mixture of molten rock is around 2900 kilometer thick and has a consistency of caramel.

The crust, Earth’s outermost layer, goes about 19 miles (30 kilometers) deep on average on land. 

The crust is thinner at the bottom of the ocean and extends about 3 miles (5 kilometers) from the sea floor to the top of the mantle.

Also Read – Mercury – Closest Planet to the Sun

Surface

Earth has volcanoes, mountains and valleys Like Mars and Venus

Earth’s lithosphere, which incorporates the crust (both continental and oceanic), and therefore the layer is split into huge plates that are constantly moving.

For example, the North American plate moves west over the Pacific basin, roughly at a rate adequate to the expansion of our fingernails.

Earthquakes result when plates grind past each other, ride up over each other, collide to form mountains, or split and separate.

Earth’s global ocean covers nearly 70 percent of the planet’s surface. It has a mean depth of about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) and contains 97 percent of Earth’s water. 

Almost all of Earth’s volcanoes are hidden under these oceans. Hawaii’s Mauna Kea volcano is taller from base to summit than Everest, but most of it’s underwater. 

Earth’s longest mountain range is additionally underwater, at rock bottom of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. It is fourfold longer than the Andes, Rockies and Himalayas combined.

Atmosphere

Near the surface, Earth has an atmosphere composed of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% other gases like argon, carbon dioxide, and neon. 

The atmosphere affects Earth’s long-lasting climate and short-term local seasons and protects us from much of the harmful radiation coming from the Sun. 

It also shields us from meteoroids, most of which burn up in the atmosphere within the way, seen as meteors in the night sky, before they can strike the surface as meteorites.

Potential for Life

Earth has a very suitable temperature and mix of chemicals that have made life possible to live here. 

Most notably, Earth is most of our planet is covered in water since the temperature allows liquid water to retain for long periods of time. 

Earth’s vast oceans gave a convenient place for life to begin about 3.8 billion years ago. Some of the features of our planet that make it great for nurturing life are changing due to the ongoing effects of climate change.

Also Read – Venus- The twin Sister of Earth

Moons

Earth is the only planet with a single moon. Our Moon is the brightest and most familiar celestial object in the night sky. 

In many ways, the Moon is responsible in making Earth such a great home for life.

It sustains our planet’s sway, which has made the climate less variable over ten tons of years. Earth sometimes temporarily invites orbiting asteroids or large rocks.

They are typically entrapped by Earth’s gravity for a few months or years before moving back to an orbit around the Sun. Some asteroids will be in a long spin with Earth as both orbits the Sun.

A planet’s gravity catches a bit of rock which we call moons more often. But, in our Moon case situation is different. It is the same as the result of a collision billions of years ago.

When our motherland Earth was a young planet, a large chunk of rock smashed into it. This rock displaced a portion of Earth’s interior. The resulting chunks clumped together and formed our Moon. 

With a radius of 1,080 miles (1,738 kilometers), the Moon is the fifth largest moon in our solar system (after Ganymede, Titan, Callisto, and Io).

The Moon is farther away from Earth than most people realize. The Moon is an average of 238,855 miles (384,400 kilometers) away. That means 30 Earth-sized planets could fit in between Earth and the Moon.  

Magnetosphere

Our planet’s rapid rotation and molten nickel-iron core give rise to a magnetic field, in which the solar wind distorts into a teardrop shape in space. 

The Sun ejects this solar wind which is a charged particle.

When charged particles from the solar wind become trapped in Earth’s magnetic field, they collide with air molecules above our planet’s magnetic poles.

These air molecules then begin to glow and cause aurorae, or the northern and southern lights.

The magnetic field is what causes compass needles to point to the North Pole regardless of which way you turn.

But the magnetic polarity of Earth can change, flipping the direction of the magnetic field. 

The geologic record tells scientists that a magnetic reversal takes place about every 400,000 years on average, but the timing is very irregular.

As far as we know, such a magnetic reversal doesn’t cause any harm to life on our motherland Earth, and a reversal is very unlikely to happen for at least another thousand years. 
 
But when it does happen, compass needles are likely to point in many different directions for a few centuries.

Conclusion

This is not the end of describing about our motherland Earth. There are more to come in the future about earth.

For now, earth is our only hope, nurture it like it is nurturing you.

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