Category Archives: Earth Facts

The Tiny Earth

We are living on a tiny life-bearing rock, an oasis, in a large, very large and hostile desert called “Universe”. The universe is big, really big, in fact, even our solar system is shockingly large compared to Earth. But again, our brains have problems dealing with the big numbers and the large objects.

Jacqui Frank of Business Insider has prepared video comparing our planet with large objects (and distances) in the Universe. These amazing to-scale visuals will help to recognize how small (and fragile) our planet is.

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If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel – A tediously accurate map of the Solar System

The title describes itself. Artist and designer Josh Worth has created a great web page which is actually a scaled model of our solar system. He scaled the Moon to only one pixel (the radius of the Moon is 1,737 km / 1079.322 mi) and put the planets and other objects like the Kuiper Belt accordingly.

Since the human brain cannot deal with the really large numbers, it is a good way to understand how big is our Solar system actually (it is really big!).

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What Earth would look like if all the ice melted

Our planet is getting warmer every year, and the horrible fact is, global warming is accelerating. As a natural result, the glaciers are melting at an increasing speed.

Almost 10% of the world’s land surface is currently covered with glaciers, mostly in places like Greenland and Antarctica. The amount of water locked up in ice and snow is only about 1.7 percent of all water on Earth (332,500,000 cubic miles, or 1,386,000,000 cubic kilometers), but the majority of total freshwater on Earth, about 68.7%, is held in ice caps and glaciers. And if all land ice melted the seas would rise about 70 meters (about 230 feet).

What if all these ice melted? What would Earth look like? Alex Kuzoian of Business Insider prepared a video showing the effects of the global melting, and if it happens, “this would dramatically reshape the continents and drown many of the world’s major cities.”

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If Earth’s life time was the distance from Los Angeles to New York City

Our old planet, the Earth is 4.54 billion years old. In fact, the human mind can no longer make any sense of large numbers like that. Numbers like 1, 2, 14, 20, 50 are all quantities that we encounter quite frequently in our daily lives. And our brain evolved to conceptualize numbers like that: our ancestors saw two lions; they hunted five deer in one hunting party, the population of their tribe was 20, etc… But when the numbers are getting big, i.e. 1,000; 10,000… the problem begins: these numbers become increasingly difficult to conceptualize. Now, what happens when we try to conceptualize quantities like billions, like the Earth’s age? We can’t actually rationalize the immensity of such a big number. Because we haven’t a model of 4.54 billion that’s been compressed into something recognizable to the human mind.

To put this number into a perspective, Alex Kuzoian of Business insider prepared a beautiful video: you can watch Earth’s lifespan as the distance from Los Angeles to New York City. Along the trip, we see the formation of our Moon, the beginning of the life, the evolving of the multi-cellular organisms, and the rise and fall of the dinosaurs. Probably the most interesting part is that modern humans only evolved 175 meters (570 feet) from the finishing line of this journey. And the big jump to the first multi-cellular organisms.

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Top 10 driest places on Earth

Earth, the blue planet: the oceans combined with the atmosphere makes the planet look blue. So its color mainly comes from water. About 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, in fact, Earth is still the only planet we know where water can exist in liquid form on the surface. Water is also vital for all known forms of life. But there are numerous places on Earth that receive rainfall less than even 0.76 mm annually. One place even receives absolutely no rainfall. Here are the top ten driest places on Earth.

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Earth: a fast-moving Spacecraft

In fact, we’re all living in a fast-moving spacecraft named Earth. Our planet is moving around our sun in an elliptical (an ellipse which is very close to a circle) orbit. The Sun is (our solar system, the Sun, Earth and all the other planets and objects) whirls around the center of our galaxy. And, our galaxy and the other galaxies in our neighborhood are also rushing towards a structure called the Great Attractor, a region of space roughly 150 million light-years (one light year is about six trillion miles) away from us. This Great Attractor, having a mass 100 quadrillion times greater than our sun and span of 500 million light-years, is made of both the visible matter that we can see along with the so-called dark matter that we cannot see.

So, even when you’re resting on your armchair, you’re flying through space faster than the fastest human-made object. But how fast actually?

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