Planet Earth Facts

Planet Earth Facts

This article has been inspired by a book called The Big Countdown: Seven Quintillion, Five hundred Quadrillion Grains of Sand on Planet Earth. Its author is Paul Rockett. It is full of pictures, infographics and amazing planet Earth facts. It was published in 2014 so I imagine that most of the facts are still correct.

The book

Planet Surface

70.8% of the earth’s surface is water.

29.2% of the earth’s surface is land.

The Earth’s Atmosphere

This book takes great delight in using enormous numbers. It tells us about the Earth’s atmosphere is that it is made up of atoms as is everything around us.  Apparently, some scientists think that there are about 200 tredecillion atoms in the atmosphere. One tredecillion has 42 zeros in it!

We learn about the 5 layers of the Earth’s atmosphere.  They are the troposphere, the stratosphere, the mesosphere, thermosphere and exosphere. The outer layer of the exosphere is 8000 kilometres away, well not exactly because there isn’t a specific edge. It just drifts off into outer space.

One of the facts I found interesting, is that an estimated 40 tonnes of meteors crash into the middle layer every single day.  Luckily for us, they burnt out before getting any closer to the Earth.

7 Quintillion, 500 Quadrillion Grains Of Sand On The Planet Earth

7 Quintillion, 500 Quadrillion Grains Of Sand On The Planet Earth is part of the title of the book and is also a chapter title.

This is obviously an estimate.  There is no way anyone could count all the grains of sand on the Earth.  Sand comes in different sizes anything from 0.06 of a millimetre to 2 mm. To come up with the number 7 quintillion 500 quadrillion,  scientist calculated how many grains of sand would fit into a teaspoon and then they multiplied the number of teaspoons they thought they were in all the beaches in the world and all the deserts in the world. How accurate do you think they might have been?

There are some amazingly long beaches in the world,  according to this book the longest one in the world is Praia do Cassino beach in Brazil which is just over 250 km long. The next couple of longest beaches are Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh which is just over 240 km long and Padre Island Texas where the beach is about 230 km long. After that come to beaches which are both called Ninety Mile Beach one of them is in New Zealand and one of them is in Australia.  The one that is in Australia is actually slightly longer and the one that is in New Zealand is actually about 88 miles long not 90 as its name suggests.

The largest sun sand castle in the world was built in America and was nearly as tall as 3 double decker buses.

Deserts make up about 9.5% of the world surface, however, only about 20% of the deserts in the world are covered by sand. The others are covered with rocks and pebbles and different types of soils.

People

We now have over 7 billion people living on the Earth. This is twice as many as they were 50 years ago. In the next 50 years it is estimated that we will have over 9 billion people living on the Earth. Nearly 90 babies are born every 20 seconds.

The Earth’s population is spread over 7 continents – Asia, Africa, North  America, South America, Europe, Australasia and Antarctica.

Asia has the largest land mass and also the largest population with over 4 billion people living there, most of those in China.

Australasia has the fewest people living there.  Nobody lives there permanently but about 4000 scientists come To live and work there each year.

Water

As we’ve said most of the Earth is covered with water,  70.8% of its surface in fact. 68.3% of the earth’s surface is covered with saltwater and 2.5% of the earth’s surface is covered with freshwater. However, about 41% of the known species of fish are only found in freshwater.

The largest fish that is found in salt water is the whale shark which can grow up to 12 metres in length and its mouth is 1 and 1/2 metres wide!

The largest freshwater fish is the Beluga sturgeon this can live in both freshwater and saltwater and it can measure up to 5 metres long.

Sea sponges are a type of animal life, scientists reckon that they have probably been around for over 760 trillion years.

Most of us will have heard of the longest rivers in the world the very longest is the river Nile in Africa which is about 6,650 km long after that is the Amazon in South America, the Yangtze in Asia and the Mississippi in North America.

The largest waterfalls in the world are the Angel Falls in Venezuela Which has a height of 979 m, and then Tugela in South Africa and then or Utigord in Norway.

Volcanoes

Children often enjoy learning about volcanoes at school.  There are three types of volcanoes – Composite volcanoes, Cinder Cone volcanoes, and Shield volcanoes.

Volcanoes can also be classified as active dormant or extinct.

Active means it’s erupted in the last 10000 years.  Dormant volcanoes, are those which have not erupted but they might erupt again, and Extinct volcanoes are those which are not expected to ever erupt again.

Inside a volcano - diagram

For more information

For more details on these and many other subjects you might like to get a copy of the book – it is available for 35% off (at the time of writing) and free P&P to anywhere in the world from Book Depository

Contents page

Please follow and like us:

Planet Facts For Kids

Planet Facts For Kids

When I was younger, it was said that there were 9 planets in our solar system.  The planets were Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto going around the sun. Later, I came across a mnemonic for it. My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas. However, since that time scientists have decided that we have eight planets in our solar system and that Pluto is a dwarf planet, and actually they have found larger rocks in the area of Pluto than Pluto itself.  On this page of planet facts for kids, I have decided to include Pluto so that you know why it is in some lists.

Here is a video you might like to watch and then there is some information about each planet.

Mercury

Mercury is the closest planet to the sun. It is also the smallest of the planets.  It is incredibly hot there as it is just 36 million miles from the sun.

It is named after the Roman god Mercury who is the messenger of the gods.

Two spacecraft have flown past Mercury gathering information.  One was called Mariner 10 and this flew past Mercury twice, once in 1974 and then again in 1975.  Then in 2004 MESSENGER was sent. This orbited Mercury 4000 times before running out of fuel and crashing into the planet in 2015.

 

Venus

Venus between Mercury and Earth and so will still be much hotter than Earth.

It is named after the Roman god of love.

It is the brightest object in the sky after the sun and the moon.

Whereas the Earth rotates once a day, Venus takes 243 days to rotate on its axis.  It actually goes quicker than this around the sun, taking 224.7 Earth days to make its journey.

Venus also rotates in the opposite direction than the Earth does, which means that the sun would seem to rise in the west and set in the east.

Venus is often referred to as either the morning star or the evening star, especially in poetry.

Earth

Of course, this is our planet.

From space, it looks blue because of all the sea and also the water vapour covering the land areas.

About two-thirds of the planet’s surface is water.

Earth is 93 million miles away from the sun and a quarter of a million miles from the moon. In kilometres, that is 150 kilometres from the sun and about 384,400 km from the moon. These are approximate distances as it changes throughout the year.

The Earth goes around the sun once a year.

The moon goes around the Earth every 27.3 days. This is known as a lunar month.

The diameter of the Earth at the Equator is 7928 miles, or 12,760 kilometres.

 

Mars

Mars comes after Earth.

It is named after the Roman god Mars the god of war because it looks red sometimes in the sky and this reminded people of the blood that you get in battles.

It is often called the red planet and can be spotted in the sky with the naked eye, that is without using a telescope.

Mars is much smaller than Earth. Its diameter is about half of the Earth’s.

Mars rotates once in 24 hours 39 minutes, so the length of its day is almost the same as Earth’s. It has two moons, called Phobos and Deimos. They are not round like the moon but irregular.

Jupiter

After Mars we get Jupiter.  This is a very big planet, 1000 times smaller than the sun but two and a half times bigger than all of the other planets in the solar system put together.

Jupiter and Saturn are both gas giants.

Jupiter has an area called the Great Red Spot – you can see it on photographs.  There are constant storms here. This area alone is 1.3 times as wide as the earth.

Jupiter is made up of hydrogen and helium as well as other elements which possibly gives it a rocky core. Jupiter has many moons, at least 74,  including four that were discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610. The largest of these is called Ganymede and it has a diameter that is larger than the planet Mercury.

Saturn

Next is Saturn which has amazing rings around it.  These rings consist of small rocks that held in a particular orbit.

Saturn is another gas giant, It is the outer layer that is made of gas, The core is probably iron, nickel and rock,  and then there is a layer of metallic hydrogen, with hydrogen and helium surrounding that.

Saturn also has a number of moons, at least 62. 53 of the moons are officially named.  The biggest is called Titan and that is bigger than the planet Mercury.

 

 

Uranus

Uranus is even further away. Uranus, along with Neptune are known as ice giants,  as their interiors are filled with ice and rocks.

Uranus is unique in that it rotates on its side.

It has wind speeds up to 900 km an hour.

It is also the only planet that has been named after a Greek god rather than a Roman god.

Uranus has 27 named moons and 24 are named after characters in Shakespeare plays and 3 after characters in a poem by Alexander Pope. One of these Ariel appears both in The Tempest by Shakespeare and in the poem by Pope.

Voyager 2 was the closest to Uranus on its voyage on January 24, 1986.

Neptune

Neptune is named after the Roman god of the sea. It is now accepted as being the farthest known planet from the sun. Neptune’s atmosphere is made up of hydrogen and helium but its interior is made up of ices such as water, ammonia and methane.  Its wind speeds reach up to 2100 km an hour!

In 1613 Galileo noticed Neptune but he thought it was just another star.  It is thought that if he had noticed it a few days earlier when the sky was clearer and tracked it he would have realised it was a planet.

Voyager 2 flew past Neptune on 25th August 1989.

Pluto

And as I said before Pluto is no longer classified as a planet, but you will often see it in a list of planets,  especially if the article or book was written before August 2006.

Pluto has a strange orbit around the sun so sometimes it is nearer the sun than Neptune.

 

Other videos you might like to see:

Planet facts worksheets

Here are some free worksheets about planets that you might find useful.

https://www.education.com/worksheet/article/planets-in-solar-system/

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/FREE-Planet-Research-Worksheet-222661

https://instantworksheets.net/planet_matchup/

And here are 15 planets worksheets – designed for children with English as a second language but useful for all.

https://en.islcollective.com/resources/search_result?Tags=Planets&type=Printables&searchworksheet=GO

 

Planet Wordsearch

This is a picture of a wordsearch
Planets wordsearch

 

If you would like a larger one here is a pdf version with answers

https://www.superteacherworksheets.com/custom/?ws=xwjgr

Please follow and like us: