The Earth

The shape of the earth

The Earth, our home planet, exhibits a fascinating spherical shape, which has been extensively studied and confirmed by numerous scientific observations and evidence. This unique shape is often referred to as the geoid, a representation of the Earth’s gravitational field, which takes into account the variations in the planet’s mass distribution. Although we perceive the ground beneath our feet as flat on a local scale, the larger picture reveals its remarkable spherical nature, slightly flattened at the poles and bulging at the equator.

Here are some compelling facts that firmly establish the Earth’s spherical nature:

1. Gravity and Its Effects: One of the most compelling pieces of evidence is the force of gravity acting on objects. Gravity pulls everything towards the center of mass, which happens to be at the Earth’s core. This central attraction causes objects to take on a spherical shape, with the Earth being the perfect example.

2. Ship Observations: Over centuries of seafaring exploration, sailors noticed that when ships sail towards the horizon, their hulls disappear from view first, followed by their masts. This phenomenon occurs because the Earth’s curved surface obscures the view, confirming its spherical shape.

3. Earth’s Shadow on the Moon: During a lunar eclipse, the Earth casts a round shadow on the Moon. The shape of this shadow is always circular, providing direct evidence of the Earth’s spherical form.

4. Satellite Imagery: Images captured from various satellites and spacecraft reveal the Earth’s spherical shape from space. These images showcase the distinct curvature and circular outline, leaving no doubt about its global structure.

5. Flight Paths and Time Zones: When traveling across long distances, airplanes follow curved flight paths to maintain the shortest distance between two points on a sphere. Additionally, the existence of different time zones around the globe further confirms the spherical shape, as the Sun’s position varies with longitude.

6. Gravity’s Variation: The force of gravity varies subtly across the Earth’s surface due to its irregular mass distribution. This variation is consistent with the expected behavior on a geoid, further reinforcing the idea of a spherical Earth.

7. Geodetic Surveys: Precise geodetic surveys have been conducted across continents, using measurements like triangulation and satellite positioning systems. The data collected from these surveys confirm the Earth’s spherical shape and provides accurate measurements of its size and features.

8. Earth’s Shadow During Sunsets: When the Sun sets on the horizon, it casts a rounded shadow on the Earth’s atmosphere. This circular shadow is another visual demonstration of the Earth’s curvature.

In conclusion, the Earth’s spherical shape is a fundamental aspect of our planet, supported by a wealth of scientific evidence spanning centuries of observation and exploration. Understanding the Earth’s true shape not only deepens our appreciation for the natural world but also serves as a foundation for various disciplines, including geography, astronomy, and geology.

Size of the Earth

The Earth, our beloved blue planet, holds a significant place in our solar system as the fifth largest planet by diameter. With a diverse and expansive surface area of approximately 443 million square kilometers (197 million square miles), it stands out as a haven for life as we know it. Let’s delve deeper into some fascinating dimensions and characteristics that make the Earth truly extraordinary.

The Earth’s majestic size is defined by its polar and equatorial diameters. Measuring about 12,722 kilometers from pole to pole, and around 12,762 kilometers from the widest points along its equator, it portrays a slightly flattened shape known as an oblate spheroid. This intriguing characteristic arises from the Earth’s rotation, which causes a bulging effect at the equator and a corresponding flattening at the poles.

The circumference of the Earth is equally impressive, particularly at the equator, where it spans approximately 40,085 kilometers (24,901 miles). This vast expanse can be traversed by adventurous explorers and is a result of the planet’s spherical shape. Not far behind, the polar circumference measures around 39,955 kilometers (24,860 miles), a testament to the planet’s remarkable uniformity.

When it comes to understanding the Earth’s composition, its mean density provides valuable insights. With an estimated mean density of 5.5 grams per cubic centimeter, the Earth’s interior conceals a complex structure of varying layers. The densest materials are concentrated at the core, which is primarily composed of iron and nickel, while less dense rocks and minerals form the mantle and crust that encase it.

This diverse density distribution plays a vital role in shaping the Earth’s dynamic geology, including plate tectonics, volcanic activity, and the generation of its magnetic field. Such phenomena contribute to the planet’s ever-changing landscape and influence the development of life-sustaining environments.

The Earth’s abundance of liquid water and a supportive atmosphere, mainly composed of nitrogen and oxygen, further distinguishes it as a vibrant and thriving ecosystem. This unique combination of factors creates a nurturing environment for an incredibly diverse range of flora and fauna, making Earth a haven for biodiversity.

Our planet’s position in the solar system fosters the right conditions for life to flourish. Positioned at an optimal distance from the Sun, it receives just the right amount of solar energy to maintain a relatively stable climate, essential for the survival of countless species.

As we continue to explore and learn more about our home in the cosmos, the Earth’s vast dimensions and unique attributes continue to captivate our imaginations and inspire us to protect and preserve this precious oasis of life. Understanding the intricacies of our planet empowers us to embrace our role as stewards of the Earth, ensuring its sustainability for generations to come.


  1. Circumnavigation of the Earth: Ferdinand Magellan and his crew sailed around the world between 1519 and 1522 and came back to their starting point. Since then, several other people have done so thereby confirming the fact that the earth is not flat but spherical. If the Earth was flat, they would have met an abrupt edge thereby falling off.
  2. Sunrise and Sunset: Different parts of the world experience sunrise and sunset at different times. If the earth were flat, the sun would rise and set at the same time for all places. Note that the Earth rotates from west to east, so places in the east see the sun first before places in the west. The sun is said to rise in the east and set in the west.
  3. Aerial Photographs: Photographs of the earth taken from high altitudes by rockets show that the earth is spherical. This is the most recent proof of the sphericity of the earth.
  4. The Lunar Eclipse: During a lunar eclipse, the Earth casts a circular shadow on the moon. Only a sphere, like the Earth, can cast such a circular shadow.
  5. Ship’s Visibility: When a ship approaching a port is viewed, the top of the mast is seen first before the hull and later the rest of the ship’s body. In the same way, if a ship leaves a harbor, it disappears gradually. If the earth is flat, the ship from a distant view would appear and disappear at once.
  6. The shape of other Planets/Planetary Bodies: When the sun, moon, stars, and other planetary bodies are viewed from any angle, they are all circular in outline. So the earth cannot be an exception.
  7. Experimental Proof/ Engineer Surveys/Driving Poles of Equal Length: Three poles of equal length driven at the same depth in a level ground were found to have the center pole projected slightly above the poles at either side because of the curvature of the earth. If the earth was flat, all the poles would have been at the same height


It is the earth on which we stand that is constantly in motion. It revolves around the Sun and turns its different sides to the Sun at different times. When the sun emerges, we say the sun is rising and when the sun recedes, we say the sun is setting. Earth’s movement can be grouped into two: The Rotation of the earth and The Revolution of the earth.


The rotation of the earth is the movement of the earth on its axis. By turning its axis from the west to the east, the earth makes a complete rotation i.e. it rotates through 360°   in every 24 hours which makes a day. We should note that the earth rotates through 15o in 1 hour or through 1o in 4 minutes.


  1. DAY AND NIGTH: As the earth rotates, only one part of the earth’s surface facing the sun receives the rays of the sun and experiences day, while the other part of the earth backing the sun experiences darkness(night).
  2. TIME DIFFERENCES FROM PLACE TO PLACE: it causes differences in local time between places as the earth rotates from west to east, it means that for every 15° we go eastward, the local time is advanced by 1hr and for every 15° westward, the local time is behind by 1hour.
  3. APPARENT SUNRISE AND SUNSET: During the rotation of the earth, the part that emerges from darkness into the rays of the sun experiences sunrise, while the part moving away from the sun rays experiences sunset. It thereby causes apparent sunrise and sunset.
  4. DEFLECTION OF WIND AND OCEAN CURRENT: The earth’s rotation causes freely moving objects e.g. wind and ocean currents to deflect to the right. This deflection is in a clockwise direction when the object lies in the northern hemisphere and it is an anticlockwise direction for an object lying in the southern hemisphere.
  5. DAILY RISING AND FALLING OF THE TIDE: This is the rising and falling in the level of water in Seas and Oceans. This takes place twice every day.


The word “Revolution” refers to the movement of one body around the sun, the moon revolves around the earth while the earth revolves around the sun.

The moon revolves around the Earth once a month. The earth and moon travel together making a complete trip around the sun once a year. Eclipses occur when the three bodies, the sun, the earth, and the moon are in a straight line.

When the moon comes in between the earth and the sun, an eclipse of the sun occurs (solar eclipse). When the earth is in between the sun and the moon, an eclipse of the moon occurs (lunar eclipse).

Revolution is the movement of the earth in its orbit around the sun once in approximately  365 1/4 days i.e. one year. Every fourth year has 366 days and this is called a leap year. All other years have 365 days.


  1. It determines a year:  The time it takes a planet to complete one revolution around the sun determines one year in that planet. One year on earth is 365 ¼ days.
  2. Revolution determines the seasons. There are two main seasons in the tropical belt. These seasons are rain and dry season, while in the temperate belt, there are four distinct seasons, summer, autumn, winter, and spring.
  3. Changes in the altitude of the mid-day sun: This refers to Equinox and Solstices.
  4. The varying length of day and night at different times of the year: The length of day and night varies depending on the position of the earth in relation to the sun.
  5. Changes in seasonal temperature: It is observed that summers are usually warm and bright while winters are cold and dark in the Arctic region.

Dawn and Twilight

Dawn refers to the brief period between sunrise and full daylight while twilight refers to the brief period between sunset and complete darkness.

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