Tag

blue planet

Browsing


Earth

The wonders of our planet

 

Earth is a fantastic and most loved planet in the Solar System. It is where we all live and it is the third planet from the Sun. Earth is the fifth largest planet in the Solar System and is the densest of planets also. Earth is of course a terrestrial planet but it is also the biggest of the four terrestrial planets. Most believe this planet to be the World or as many call it, the Blue Planet. It is the place where we all live and it is the World for everyone to live in also.

The planet Earth was apparently formed billions of years ago, almost 4 billion years ago. Earth first showed signs of life within a billion years and the biosphere of the planet changed. This helped to alter the atmosphere of the planet at changed the physical conditions on the planet also; this helped to create organisms and it created the Ozone layer also. The Ozone layer and the magnetic field of the Earth stopped any potential harmful solar radiation from hitting the surface of the Earth.

This helped to allow ocean life, to move on to land without harm. Life has been able to continue to live constantly due to the fact that the orbital system and the geological history.  No one is quite sure how long the Earth will continue to orbit, it could be more than 500 million years or even billions of years; though some say it is the Lord God who will determine how life goes forward.

Understanding The Earth’s Workings

The Earth is divided into tectonic plates which from across the Earth’s surface and have been around and constantly changing for many years, possibly even millions of years.  The Earth is made up of a good portion of salt water oceans – almost 71 percent is made up of water, while the rest of the land, 29 percent is made up from islands and continents.  Though, these continents and islands are going to have different lakes and streams and a lot of different water sources that create a stable feature of the Earth.

The Earth has 2 poles, the North Pole and South Pole but these both are covered mostly with ice; these help to form the Antarctic Ice Sheet as well as the Sea Ice of the Polar Ice packs which are strong and very, very cold.  Though, the Earth does have a strong solid iron inner core with an outer liquid core which helps to create a magnetic field; and the Earth has also a good solid mantle.

Earth facts
The “Blue Marble”

Gravitational Fields and Orbit Rotation

The Earth has of course a gravitational field and these interactions not only occur with humans and terrestrial objects but also objects outside of Earth. It can interact with things from space and when it is orbiting, it can interact with objects such as the Moon and even the Sun. The gravitational pull can be very strong indeed and can at times allow things to be brought towards the Earth’s center.

The Earth orbits the Sun and it creates a 365 solar days as it spins around on its axis 366 times – this creates 1 year.  However, the Earth does only have one natural satellite and that is of course the Moon. The Moon in fact helps to ensure the tides of the oceans continuously move as well as stabilize the axis of the Earth and helps to stop the rotation of the planet from going too fast.

What Can Live On Earth

Earth is home to million of different species. It is not just human beings that are able to live on Earth because there are animals and many more different species, some of which, many do not even know they exist. The human population survives because of the amazing mineral resources that the planet has as well as products from the biosphere but the human population works together to help survive also.

Many of the human population will trade, travel, and use military action to help ensure the world runs smoothly and helps to get food to most humans also. Remember the World is separated into many different states; and there are many different views on Earth and how it works. Many people used to believe that the Earth was flat until one explorer proved it wasn’t. There are just so some people out there who have their own views about how the world or the Earth works.

The Structure of Earth

Since Earth is a terrestrial planet, it means that the surface is a very rocky one.  This means that the surface will be a rocky body form and isn’t a gas form planet like that of Jupiter. Its mass and size is quite large and its density is going to be at its highest also; its surface gravity is going to be at its highest also with the strongest magnetic field of four planets in the Solar System (Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars). This is also going to have the fastest rotational system and Earth is the only planet which is going to have tectonic plates which is active.

The interior of the Earth is going to be divided into layers because of their physical properties.  However, the other terrestrial planets are not very distinctive unlike Earth which has a very unique inner and outer core.  The outer layer of the Earth is going to be made up of a distinct silicate and solid crust with a solid mantle.  Though, the crust thickness can vary.

The Earth’s Heat

The Earth can be heated internally from a combination of things including radioactive decay and residual heat from planetary accretion. Though many believe that through Global warming is certainly going to have an impact over how the Earth is heated. The weather will change and it does have a massive effect on Earth.

The blue planet
Artificial satellite over the Earth / Photo Courtesy of NASA

The Tectonic Plates

There are several different tectonic plates in which the Earth sits on including;

  • The Pacific Plate
  • The African Plate
  • North American Plate
  • Eurasian Plate
  • The Antarctic Plate
  • The Indo Australian Plate
  • The South American Plate

These tectonic plates can cause a lot of earthquakes and volcanic activity when moved.  How they sit, the tectonic plates can be moved easily and the slightest of movement can create natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanoes. However, if the tectonic plates are underneath the oceans, it can eventually cause tsunamis and tidal waves.

The tectonic plates move but they can move slowly and the slowest is the Eurasian Plate. Though, not all movements of the tectonic plates will cause any natural disasters such as earthquakes and tidal waves.  Though, with powerful movements in the tectonic plates, they can create massive and new volcanic forms which can eventually erupt but this might take years and sometimes, they will be dormant and won’t erupt.  Most of the times, these slight changes with the tectonic plates aren’t going to be minor impacting and there will be continuous changes in the Earth’s atmosphere and the surface including with tectonic plates.

The Planet Earth Video

Earth Related Articles

Photo Courtesy of NASA

Neptune

The Blue-Green Planet

 

Neptune is the fourth largest planet in the Solar System today. However, Neptune is the eighth planet and this planet is going to be the further planet away from the Sun; but the planet is considered to be the third largest mass planet. Neptune is going to be the densest of all planets in the Solar System and is a gas giant planet.

Neptune has almost 17 times more mass than that found on Earth and will be smaller than Uranus which is very close to it. Neptune is named after the Roman god and it was discovered many, many years ago. Neptune it was first discovered in 1846 by Johann Galle.

There are so many things which haven’t yet been discovered about this planet; though it is said that Neptune does resemble Uranus in some ways. The two planets will have the same compositions; these different from the gas giants such as Saturn and Jupiter however. The atmosphere is going to be completely made from helium and hydrogen just like some of the gas giant planets out there. However, there are some traces of nitrogen in the surface of the planet which means that it will have ice – the planet may have water, methane and ammonia found on its surface or underneath it.

Neptune is really thought to be an ice giant instead of a gas giant even though it is made up of hydrogen and helium. However, the interior of the planet is going to be made up of rock and different ices. It could be possible for the core to be a solid creation but it will more than likely have temperatures which are thousands of degrees. The methane in the planet could help to contribute to the blue appearance the planet can give when observing it.

The Climate of Neptune

It might not seem as though the planet Neptune has any sort of weather conditions, however the climate is very unique. It does have a spate of different weather changes and this was first seen during the 80’s. This is certainly unique because for many years, most people thought the planet had to be very bland but actually it wasn’t and the fly by in 1989 showed the planet was far from bland.

The planet does have dynamic storms – very dynamic systems when it comes to its weather. Sometimes, the winds on the planet can reach anywhere up to 600m/s which is unbelievable because it’s almost supersonic flow! The wind speeds can vary from being small in the east to supersonic wind speeds in the west; it can all vary but they can be very dangerous at times.

farthest planet
Neptune Planet / Photo Courtesy of NASA

It was discovered only in 2007 that the south pole of the planet was warmer than the rest of the planet. This might seem strange but its true and it can vary throughout the planet; there are temperature changes due to gas leaking and escaping out of the surface and out to space.

NASA discovered an anti cyclonic storm which was massive which created the Great Dark Spot; and even though it soon disappeared from the planet’s surface, newer storm systems appeared. The planet Neptune is very unique with its weather conditions because they can appear so suddenly and disappear just as quick.

Migration and Formation

It is very difficult to actually model the planets such as Uranus and Neptune exactly because of them being ice giant planets. Most think that the core has to be strong and has a lot of accretion; there has to be a lack of stability but it is not as yet known.

The Moons of Neptune

Neptune has currently 14 moons which have been discovered so far; and the biggest moon which has been found was sphere shaped. This is Triton, and this was first discovered by the astrologist William Lassell – this happened only after a few days of the planet’s discovery. This was only 17 days which is quite amazing and the moon will have a retrograde orbit system unlike most of the other moons in the Solar System.

What this really means, is that the moon was captured rather than being formed where it was. It could have been a dwarf planet located probably in the Kuiper belt and it was moved into the place where it stands now. The moon was close enough to the gravitational field of the planet to be locked into the rotation it faces now; but it is slowly heading towards the planet. The Triton moon is thought to be destroyed by the pull of the planet but this isn’t thought to happen until many millions, if not billions of years. Back in 1989, this moon was actually cold, very cold, which wasn’t as yet measured.

Though, Nereid, which is another moon, is very odd with its eccentric orbital systems. There is not many things known about this moon but it is certainly going to be a very unique moon of Neptune as well as the entire Solar System.

In the 80’s, there were 6 moons discovered such as Naiad, Despina, Galatea, Thalassa and Larissa and all were named after Roman gods of the sea.

Neptune isn’t however visible to see from Earth or by the naked eye. If someone were to use a telescope to view the planet, then they would be able to see the planet but it will only resemble a small blue disk. This might look similar to that of Uranus; and the planet is going to be a very distant planet from Earth.

However, Neptune isn’t going to be the biggest planet in the Solar System and as a result it can be very difficult to actually explore and study the planet more. Before the Hubble telescope first appeared, it was almost impossible to study the planet in depth. However, after the Hubble telescope appeared, it was easier to study the planet but there is still so much unknown about the planet.

Neptune Dark Spot
The Great Dark Spot / Photo Courtesy of NASA

Exploration of Neptune

The planet has been explored many times since 1989. The first was the Voyager 2 which didn’t actually land on the planet; instead it made a very close flyby.  Remember this is the latest planet in the Solar System so it can be tough to reach for many spacecrafts; though, the spacecraft did a flyby of the planet’s moon Triton was an exciting mission.

With the exploration with the Voyager 2, the signals that reached back to Earth took almost 250 minutes to do so. However, the flyby almost collided with the moon Nereid but it was found that the planet did have a strong magnetic field because of this mission. There was a strong field around the planet but it is strangely not found in the centre of the planet the magnetic field. It was said that the planet did have a very strong and active weather system which is very surprising. Also, there were more than 6 moons found surrounding Neptune and it does have more than just one ring surrounding the planet.

 

Neptune Related Articles