NASA has published some interesting statistics about the world’s sandy beaches on Earth Observatory webpage. According to the images taken by Landsat satellitesNotes 1 (Landsat 5 and Landsat 8Notes 2, 3), about 31 percent of the world’s coastlines are sandy. Africa has the highest proportion of sandy beaches (66 percent) and Europe has the lowest (22 percent).
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We’ve evolved here on Earth, and for tens of thousands of years, we just thought the Earth is also the universe, or at least the most important and the biggest part of it. Our brains have been adapted to the basic survival needs. So we can deal with the moderately sized objects which have moderate velocity, and we can conceptualize small numbers like 1, 2, 50. But when the numbers get bigger than that, the problem begins: our puny brains cannot conceptualize them anymore. The larger a number grows, the harder it becomes to deal with. Take the age of the Earth, which is almost 4.6 billion years. We don’t have an intuitive sense of what this number means. But, visualization can help: we can better understand things if we visualize them. Author Andy Bergmann just did that. He created a Timeline of Earth to get a better sense of how key events relate in time over our planet’s 4.6 billion year history. It’s hard to get a sense of how vast it is until you can see it laid out visually.
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If you go out on a clear night when it’s full moon, you may notice how gigantic the Earth’s satellite looks when it’s near the horizon. But, in fact, that moon is the exact same size as every other time as you’ve ever seen it in the sky. You can test this by holding your thumbnail at arm’s length and comparing it to the size of the Moon when it is near the horizon and high in the sky, and you’ll see it doesn’t change size. Photographs of the Moon at different elevations also show that its size remains the same. In fact, it plays a trick on your brain which called the “Moon Illusion”. This illusion has been known since the ancient times, and an explanation of this optical phenomenon is still debated.
Continue reading Moon Illusion: why the Moon looks larger when it’s near the horizon?
Despite today people are living longer, healthier, and happier lives than ever before, there are still many problems that humanity should address. One of the most important of them is the water inequality. While people in First World countries can very easily take fresh, clean water for granted, more than 800 million others in impoverished areas have no access to any clean water source. It is a common occurrence in some regions for people to defecate openly, walk more than 30 minutes to access clean water and share toilets with other humans. In 2018, is this really something that we should just accept as an inevitable way of the world?
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Yesterday, I stumbled upon a YouTube channel named The Science Asylum. In this channel, physicist Nick Lucid covers some popular science subjects. For example, the video below, titled “How Far Away Is The Moon?” explains the distance between the Earth and the moon, and how our brains aren’t good at dealing with the big numbers.
Continue reading How Far Away Is The Moon?
Hint: they are all space rocks. But, there are some differences. The biggest difference between an asteroid and a comet, for example, is what they are made of.
Continue reading What’s the Difference Between a Meteoroid, a Meteor, a Meteorite, an Asteroid, and a Comet?
A new study published on April 26, 2018, suggests that TRAPPIST-1e, an exoplanet orbiting the red dwarf star TRAPPIST-1, has a large iron core. This could mean that the planet TRAPPIST-1e may have a protective magnetosphereNotes 1 like we have here on Earth.
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The dynamics of the ocean and the atmosphere are strongly influenced by the Earth’s rotation. Currently, our planet rotates from west to east (prograde, which appears counterclockwise) with a linear velocity of 465.1013 m/s (1674.365 km/h or 1040.40 mph) at the equator. What would happen if the Earth started spinning backward (from east to west)?
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NASA has published a video titled “Earth’s Biosphere: The Green Marble”, showing the monthly averages of land greenness (vegetation) and ocean chlorophyll. You can watch how the primary producers (plants and phytoplankton) transform the Earth’s landmasses and oceans over 12 months.
Continue reading Watch: Earth’s Biosphere – Monthly Averages of Land Greenness (Vegetation) and Ocean Chlorophyll
I stumbled upon an amazing web page showing what did ancient Earth look like. On “Dinosaur Pictures and Facts” web page (dinosaurpictures.org), there’s also an interactive animation. On this page, you can either select the years (i.e. 600 million years ago) or jump to a particular event (i.e. first multicellular life) and see how ancient Earth did look like then. You can also remove the clouds and stop the Earth’s rotation if you want to.
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