Nations Online Logo
One World
Nations Online
Home Earth eARTh Gallery

___ The Earth

Keywords: Earth facts, basic planetary data, Earth, flag of the world, Mother Earth, Earth symbol, Gaja, Planet Earth, World time
Location :: Name :: Earth Facts :: Orbital Data :: Satellites :: Atmosphere :: Life :: Government :: World Time :: Earth Map :: Additional Links
Planet Earth, Terre, Erde, Chikyu, Tierra, Terra, Gaia, Mother Earth
Planet Earth - viewed from Mars orbit
Planet Earth - seen from Mars orbit.
Image: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

you are a member of the highest developed civilization you know - your own. You are space borne in one of this state-of-the-art starships traveling through this newly discovered galaxy. As most of the time nothing really interesting happens. You are surrounded by a myriad of sparkling, diamond-like luminous spots, the lights of far away stars that are embedded in the deepest, infinite black you can imagine.

You've entered this solar system about a quarter of a megasecond ago, your relative position is approximately 8 parsecs (26 000 ly) from the center of this spiral galaxy, about halfway towards its edge (see image below). As you'll learn later, the galaxy is known here as Milky Way. You turn on your favorite music and start to dance, looking at the stars, the alternating bass of the music lets vibrate your cells and makes you feel floating.
Glaring Light!
In an instant your spaceship shades the windows. On your journey you've passed a star, a large sphere of really hot plasma. The data display shows that it is a 'yellow dwarf' of spectral type G2 – nothing special, one of more than 252 billion stars in this galaxy.
The stars age is about 4.5 billion years, it is a relative young star in the midst of its hydrogen burning.
This happens in the usual way suns do it - they convert hydrogen into helium in their core by means of nuclear fusion — elementary for suns.

Your travel leads you deeper into the star's planetary system.

You've reprogrammed your spacecraft to approach one of the promising planets in the system -
it's the third planet counted outward from its star.
Minutes later you see a crystal blue sphere, a shining, sparkling oasis in the desert of frozen matter.

It's a planet, covered with liquid water, one of the most precious elements in the known universe - and basic prerequisite for live as you know it.
In this moment you realize, this is all in all the most beautiful place within the next several
thousand light years. Closing your mouth you look at the ships main data terminal.

The data display shows, the celestial globe is a relatively middle sized rocky planet in just the right distance
of its sun, that water can exist in its liquid form, the best condition for live.

You will learn that the planet's inhabitants (who are able to verbalize in English) call the planet EARTH.


Dry Facts about Earth:

Location of Earth: Local Universe  Virgo Supercluster*  Local Group  second-largest Galaxy** named "Milky Way"  the inner rim of the Orion Arm (Orion Spur)  Solar System  3rd planet in distance outward from the local star, named Sun***

Closest Galaxy to Milky Way is Canis Major dwarf Galaxy (distance: 25 000 ly), next in row is the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy.

Solar System orbit
Solar System's orbit within Milky Way Galaxy. The sun is ONE of the estimated 200 to 400 billion (2x10^11 to 4x10^11) stars in this galaxy alone.
(image credit: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)

The solar system travels in an orbit around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy at a velocity of a few hundred kilometers per second. So how long is a Solar System Year? Answer: even at that speed, completing one orbit, it takes the Solar System about 230 million standard years (Earth years).

The closest stars next to Sun are located in the Centaurus Constellation: Proxima Centauri (Alpha Centauri C), Rigil Kentaurus (Alpha Centauri A), Alpha Centauri B; all in a distance of about 4,3 ly.

Nearest planetary neighbors to Earth: Venus (average distance from Sun: 108 million km, 0.7233 AU) and Mars (average distance from Sun: 217 million km, 1.52 AU)

* Cluster = groups of galaxies held together by mutual gravitational attraction.
** Galaxy (translates literally "milky"), gets its name from a Greek myth about Hera the Goddess of Heaven, who sprayed (by accident) her milk across the sky.
Romans: Via Lactea = "Road of Milk" derived from the Greek Galaxia (gala, galactos means "milk" = Milky Way)
Milky Way: diameter about 100,000 ly, contains about 200-400 billion stars.
*** Earth's average distance from Sun: approximately 150 million km or 93 million miles.
The mean distance between Earth and the Sun is also used to indicate distances within a solar system, it is called Astronomical Unit,
1 AU = 149,597,870 km or 92,750,680 miles.

Solar System 2.0
The main players in the Solar System are the Sun, the four terrestrial inner planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, the Inner Asteroid Belt (more than 10 million objects, whereof the dwarf planet Ceres is the largest and most massive body),
the four gas giant outer planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, followed by the trans-Neptunian objects like the dwarf planets Pluto, Eris and Sedna and cubewanos, objects of the Kuiper belt.

Earth is (beside Sedna) the only planet in the solar system, whose name is not derived from the Greek or Roman mythology, the origin of the now used form of naming comes from the Anglo-Saxon word Erda (Erdaz), which means ground, soil, and Earth, the word changed to Eorthe or Erthe in Old English and to Erde in German.

8th Century, in Old High German: erda, al therda, from OHG al th[iu] erda 'der gesamte Erdkreis', (meaning: hole world, earth)
Latin: Terra, Norwegian: Jord(n), Icelandic: jarðar (jardar), Aramaic: Ereds, Arabic: أرض (ard), Hebrew: Eretz, Greek: ἔρα (era).

Asian names for Earth:
Chinese: 地球 (Dìqiú); Japanese: 地球 (Chikyū); Korean: 지구 (jigu); Hindi: पृथ्वी (Pr̥thvī); Malay and Indonesian: bumi; Thai: โลก (lok); Vietnamese: trái đất (try da).

 The name of Earth in other languages

Other names of Mother Earth
Earth goddesses: Hertha, Erda, Jörd, Fjörgyn, Hlödyn, Gaia, Tellus.
The Iroquois name for Mother Earth is Etenoha, the Lakota call her Ina Maka.

Planet Earth is made of stardust, born in the heat of a supernova together with the sun and the other planets. They where formed by gravitational forces which enable the process of the accretion of planetesimals that has originated the solar planets; this happened about 4.5 to 4.8 billion years ago.

 The Solar System's Big Bang

More or less spherical.

Fact: the Earth is wider at the equator than from pole to pole, likely because of its rotation - and - the equatorial circumference is growing, possible reasons are: the well-known centrifugal forces, and maybe some transfer of mass from high to low latitudes (high latitude at the poles 90°, low latitude at Earth's equator 0°) and/or a transfer of mass from the Earth's core (the nucleus) and its mantle to the crust.

Earth circumferences:
Equatorial circumference: 40 076 km (~ 24 902 miles).
Polar circumference: 40 005 km (~ 24 858 miles).
Diameter of the Earth:
Equatorial Radius: 6 378 km (~ 3 963 miles).
Polar Radius: 6 357 km (~ 3 950 miles).

Volume: V = 4/3 pi x r3 = 1 086 781 292 542 cubic km or 260 732 699 457 miles3.

Total Surface Area: about 509 600 000 square km (197 000 000 square miles).
Area of land: 148 326 000 km2 (57 268 900 square miles), this are 29% of the total surface of Planet Earth.
Area of water: 361 740 000 km2 (139 668 500 square miles), this are 71% of the total surface of the Earth.
97 percent is salt water and only 3 percent is fresh water.

Estimated Mass:
5.976 x1024 kg or roughly 6x1021 metric tons.

Earth consists predominantly of Oxygen, Silicon, Aluminum, Iron, Calcium, Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, Nickel and Carbon.

Earth is the densest major body in the solar system.
Density of planet Earth is about 5.52 g/cm3 or 5 520 kg/m3.
Water, as you might know, has a density of 1000 kg/m3 at 3.98 degrees centigrade and at one atmosphere of pressure.

Orbital Data:
Sidereal period (Time Earth needs to orbit the sun once)
365.256 days.

The daily rotation of the Earth, which causes the distinction between day and night, has been used as the basis for time reckoning for thousands of years.
It takes 23.9345 hours for the Earth to rotate a complete revolution.

Earth's spin axis

Earth's spin axis is not perpendicular, the axis is tilted 23,45°, this circumstance causes the seasons, because Earth's surface changes its position relative to the Sun and therefore the amount of heat delivered to the surface.

The Earth orbits the Sun at a speed of 29.79 km (18.51 miles) per second
or 107 870 km (67 027 miles) per hour.

besides a number of active and obsolete artificial satellites (communications, broadcasting, meteorological, military kind) there are by now 5 known natural satellites, which orbit is in a way connected with Earth.

the moonMoon
possibly a "child" of Earth, born in a "big whack" in which a roving planetoid, at least as large as Mars, slams into Earth, creating a debris cloud that later coalesces into the moon. This happened approximately 50 million to 100 million years after the solar system's came into existence.
Moon's equatorial radius: 1 738.1 km (~ 1 080 miles)
average distance from Earth: 384 000 km (~ 238 607 miles)
The Moon orbits Earth in 27.3217 days

The Asteroids
Asteroid 3753 Cruithne "Earth's second moon" - size: 5 km in diameter - more info
Asteroid J002E3, a new moon or space junk?
Asteroid 1685 Toro, size: approximately 5 km in diameter
Asteroid 1998 UP1
Asteroid 2000 PH5

Planetary Ring System: No

Average Surface Pressure: 1014 millibars.
Surface Density: 1.217 kg/m3.
The air that you breathe (dry air):
Major: 78.084% Nitrogen (N2), 20.946% Oxygen (O2)
Minor (parts per million): Argon (Ar) - 9 340; Carbon Dioxide (CO2) 350; Neon (Ne) 18.18; Helium (He) 5.24; CH4 1.7; Krypton (Kr) 1.14; Hydrogen (H2) 0.55.

Coldest temperature: Minus 89.2 °C (-128.5° F) in Vostok, Antarctica, 1983.
Highest temperature: 58°C (136.4° F) at Al'Aziziyah, Libya, on 13th September 1922.

Highest Point on Surface:
Mount Everest (Latitude 27° 59' N - Longitude 86° 56' E ), revised elevation: 8850 meters (29,035 feet) above sea level.

Most precious element on Earth:
Beside a crystalline isometric polymorph of carbon (diamonds), the most precious element on earth is CLEAN water.

Intelligent Visitors from Outer Space:

Life on Planet Earth:
human race
Found on an antique space craft called Pioneer 10. It shows an attempt of the human species of Earth to communicate with other civilizations in the universe. The famed Pioneer plaque features a design engraved into a gold-anodized aluminum plate, 152 by 229 millimeters (6 by 9 inches), attached to the spacecraft's antenna support struts to help shield it from erosion by interstellar dust. The plaque was mounted on the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft.
Bookmark/share this page

Carbon-based life forms exists since 3.5 - 3.9 billion years,
including animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, and protists there may be over 30 million different species, the total number of animal species currently known is 1.5 million.

The life-form with the most influence on modifications on Earth is a sub-species of a hominid family of primates, originally living near coastlines and river banks (after they came down from the trees). It's a relative old order of mammals, with an approximate age of 4.3 million years. This on hind limbs walking members of Homo sapiens sapiens, also known as the human race or mankind, originated most likely from the hot heart of the African continent. Meanwhile this species has spread all over the planet -- some call this success.
It is presumed that the anatomically modern humans (AMH) have evolved from an archaic Homo sapiens in the Middle Paleolithic (better known as Stone Age), about 200.000 years ago.
Therefore we have a closer look at this species:

Human Communication
The fundamental communication system of the human race is based on acoustic as well as kinesic signals, the spoken language and body language).
The nonverbal communication of human body signals is, in general, until now underestimated and has not been categorized very well.
On the other hand, the human acoustic signal systems can be divided in more than 6,900 different languages (by traditions coherent acoustic signal systems).
They are used by the various members of cultural human groups for their communication to express feelings, thoughts and the exchange of knowledge and experience.
About one-third of this languages have writing systems (symbolical pictorial signs of a language; storable and/or for carry away), the others are only spoken (sound generated). Since the beginning of Homo sapiens, new languages have been constantly emerging while others vanished forever.
Since at least 30,000 years this species has developed additional forms of communication, like paintings, sculptures and carving as well as some kind of melodious acoustic signals based on rhythm and harmony--they call it music.
Little is known about telepathic communication on Earth.

Today there are more than 7 billion human beings, descendants of the Homo sapiens sapiens.

See also:
 The Global Village, a Summary of the World
Earth as a village of 100 people.

Largest Urban Agglomerations:
see the list of Most Populated Cities in the World.

Most Famous Landmarks
Most famous landmarks and monuments on Earth.

Earth Government:
There is no global government for Earth.
The organization of sovereign nations, the  United Nations - abbreviated by the acronym UN, with its humanitarian, peacekeeping and development tasks, its powerful Security Council and the not so powerful factions and fractions of the rest of all the countries might once play this role.
Meanwhile the power is divided among the USA, China, European Countries, Russia, India, and the rest of the Independent States, and multinational companies, global rating agencies, international bank consortiums, greedy speculators, insurance companies, and political as well as religious interest groups, and if one believes in some conspiracy theories, an enlightenment-era secret society called the Illuminati controls them all.

Constitution of Earth:
There is no Constitution of Earth.
As a good basis for a future draft would be the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

There is a draft of the  World Constitution and Parliament Association:  "A Constitution for the Federation of Earth" as amended at the World Constituent Assembly in Troia, Portugal 1991.

Flag of the world:
There is no official flag of the Earth.

Earth symbol
Earth sign, the symbol for the Earth.

World Time:
Today on Earth time measurement is based on the rotation of Earth on its axis with respect to the stars (Universal Time - UT).
The basis of Universal Time is the mean sidereal time as measured on the Greenwich (England) initial or prime meridian (longitude zero) counted from 0 hours at midnight.

UT which is the basis for the worldwide system of civil time, refers to a high precision time scale called "Coordinated Universal Time" (abbreviated UTC), which is accurate to approximately a nanosecond (billionth of a second) per day.
Local time of Earth's 24 time zones is given as an integral number of hours offset from UTC.
e.g.: Central European Time (CET) = UTC +1h
Atlantic Standard Time = UTC -4h

Actual Coordinated Universal Time (UTC):
Wednsday-December-2  03:19

(larger continuous masses of land)
Number of Continents: 5-7, namely:
Africa, Asia, Australia North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Oceania,
(North America and South America are often considered a single continent, America. Europe and Asia are sometimes considered a single continent, Eurasia. Oceania comprises sometimes the landmass of Australia and all the scattered islands in the South Pacific)

world continents
Map of Continents of the World

Worlds within the World?
The First, the Second, and the Third World.
A Three World Model?

Planet Earth Maps

Map of Earth: map of earth
  Searchable Map and Satellite View of Earth (click on the map to enlarge)
Representation of Earth:

Political Map of the World
World map showing independent states borders, dependencies or areas of special sovereignty, islands and island groups as well as capital cities.
profile Physical Map of the World
Shaded relief map of the world, showing landmasses, continents, oceans, regions, mountain ranges, islands and island groups as well as extreme points.

Planet Earth
Outline map of the World.

More Maps
Find more maps of planet Earth.
More Earth Facts

 Operating Manual For Spaceship Earth
R. B. Fuller's in-depth suggestions and advice to handle the ship.

 Destination Earth
A scientific guide to Earth as only NASA can.

 Google Earth
Maps and Satellite images.

 Visible Earth
A searchable directory of images, visualizations and animations of the Earth.

 A Walk Through Time
An easy to understand history of the "Evolution of Time Measurement through the Ages".
 Earth Systems of Time
 What is Universal Time?
Global Advertising