Shop Windows to the Universe

Dig into Montana Before History: 11K Years of Hunter-Gatherers in the Rockies and Plains by D. H. MacDonald, Ph.D. See our online store book collection.

*Please note that this page is a student project written by 9 year old, Megan. It was not written or edited by Windows to the Universe scientists.*


by Megan

The third planet from the Sun, Earth is our planet. Animals and plants can live almost anywhere on the Earth's surface because it is just the right distance from the Sun. Living things need the Sun's warmth and light for life. If the Earth were too far from the Sun, it would be too cold for anything to live. Most living things also must have water to live. 71% of the Earth's surface is covered with water. Earth is the only planet on which water can exist in liquid form on the surface.

The Earth is always moving. It spins like a top and also travels around the Sun at the same time. These 2 motions measure the length of the Earth's day and the Earth's year.

The Earth spins around on its axis. An axis is an imaginary line that connects the North and South Poles. It takes 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.09 seconds for the Earth to spin around once. This is one Earth day.

The Earth travels around the Sun in 365 days, 6 hours, 9 minutes and 9.54 seconds. This is one year. Each planet has a different year. It is always the number of days it takes the planet to travel around the Sun. This trip that the Earth takes around the sun once is 595 million miles.

Earth is the only planet that is not named for a Greek or Roman mythical character. There are many other names for the Earth. Gaia is Greek, Terre is French and Jeegoo is Korean.

Earth is the 5th largest planet. From the North Pole to the South Pole, which is called the Prime Meridian, it is 7,899 miles. Across the Equator, it is 7,926 miles. That means the Earth is not perfectly round. It is wider than it is longer.

Even though we think our planet is very large, when we compare it to other objects in our solar system, it is really quite small. We could fit 1,000 Earth’s inside Jupiter and one million Earth’s to fill the Sun.

The Earth is 93 million miles from the Sun. If you took a jet that flies 625 miles per hour to the Sun, it would take 17 years to get there. The plane would burn up before it got there.

Our planet is about 4 ½ billion years old. Our Moon is small, it is about 1/3 the size of the Earth. There are light and dark patches on the moon which remind some people of a rabbit and others the face of a man. The lighter places are rocky and covered with crators. The dark places are large smooth plains formed out of lava. The moon is locked into a special kind of motion around the Earth. It rotates on its axis at the same speed that it revolves around the Earth which is why we always see the nearside and we never see is the farside. In one month, the moon circles once around the Earth.




World Book Encyclopedia

The Internet

McDonald Publishing Co.



National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Megan is 9 years old and in Mrs. Powell's third grade class. She lives in Indiana. This is a picture of Megan and her project poster.

Last modified March 22, 2005 by Jennifer Bergman.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Learn about Earth and space science, and have fun while doing it! The games section of our online store includes a climate change card game and the Traveling Nitrogen game!

Windows to the Universe Community



You might also be interested in:

What are the retrograde motions of planets in the sky?

It depends on which type of motion you are asking about. If you take a birds-eye view from the top of the solar system all the planets orbit around the Sun in a counter-clockwise (or direct) direction....more

How do Astronauts Live in Space?

Almost everyone has a question or two about living in space. What do astronauts do in space? How do they do everyday things like eat, sleep and go to the bathroom? It's important to note that astronauts...more

How far is the Earth from the Sun, the Moon and all the other planets? How far are all of the planets from the Sun? Do you know of a software that tracks the planets in real-time?

There is a really neat internet program called Solar System Live that shows the position of all of the planets and the Sun for any given day. If you go to that page, you'll see an image similar to the...more

Is it really true that man never really walked on the Moon?

The picture of the American Flag (the one put there by the Apollo astronauts) is waving (or straight out) in the wind. How could that be possible if there is no atmosphere on the Moon? Was it some sort...more

How many planets orbit the sun?

I was wondering if there is a new planet? Are there planets (a tenth planet?) after Pluto belonging to our solar system? What are the names of the new planets discovered in the solar system? Are there...more

According to Stephen Hawking, any object with an energy which equals Plank's energy has to become a black hole.

If that is so, the energy released during the Big Bang must have created many such black holes. Therefore most of the Energy of the Big bang must have disappeared in that form. Then how did the Universe...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA