*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.*
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 Earths 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 ˝ 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
McDonald Publishing Co.
PHOTOGRAPH OF EARTH
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.