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Basic Planetary Facts


isn't she lovely? isn't she wonderful? isn't she precious?
All of the planets in our solar system were named after Greek and Roman deities, by the ancient astronomers. All, except for Earth. It was referred to by The old Saxon word 'ertha', the Dutch word 'aerde', and the German 'erda', all meaning the ground or dirt. She has never been given an official name.

At 94.51 million miles from the sun, Earth is the third in a line of eight planets, and is about 4.54 billion years old.

The time it takes her to make one complete revolution around the sun is 365.256363004 days, or 1.000017421 year, traveling at a speed of 29.78 km per second, or 107,200 km per hour. The time it takes for her to make one complete rotation on her axis is 23hours, 56minutes, and 4.100seconds, rotating at a speed of 1,674.4 km per hour, or 465.1 meters per second. This equates to 1040.402 miles per hour. She measures 24901.47 miles around her equator, and her mass (not weight) is 1.3171x10^25 pounds.

Earth is made up of five geological layers which are the crust (which is 0-35 kilometers deep), the upper mantle (35-60 kilometers deep), the mantle (60-2890 km deep), the outer core (2890-5100 km), and the inner core (5100–6378 km). The atmosphere that surrounds the earth is 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen, with trace amounts of water vapor, carbon dioxide and other gaseous molecules. Three-quarters of the atmosphere's mass is contained within the first 11 km of the planet's surface.

The axial tilt of the planet provides us with four distinct seasons. In the northern hemisphere, Summer occurs when the North Pole points toward the sun, and Winter, when the North Pole points away.

70.8 percent of the earth's surface is covered by water: oceans, seas, rivers, and lakes. That leaves a mere 29.2 percent of the earth for dry land. As of 2004, there were an estimated 287,655 species of known and identified plants on the planet, not including the fungi and lichen.

Of the 1,250,000 identified animals, 950,000 species were insects; 29,300 were fish; 8,240 were reptiles; 10,234 birds; and 5,416 mammals. Remember, this is only the species that are known and identified. Imagine all that may be out there that have yet to be discovered!

There are 6.75 billion living human beings on the surface of the Earth. 3.375 billion of those are female...ya know, just sayin'.


--The preceding information was taken from various articles on www.Wikipedia.org and statistics provided by www.Wolframalpha.com

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