Pronunciation: i/ˈɜrθ/
Adjective: earthly, tellurian, telluric, terran, terrestrial.

Orbital characteristics
Epoch: J2000.0
Aphelion: 152,098,232 km (1.01671388 AU)
Perihelion: 147,098,290 km (0.98329134 AU)
Semi-major axis: 149,598,261 km (1.00000261 AU)
Eccentricity: 0.01671123
Orbital period: 365.256363004 days (1.000017421 yr)
Average orbital speed: 29.78 km/s (107,200 km/h)
Mean anomaly: 357.51716°
Inclination: 7.155° to Sun's equator (1.57869° to invariable plane)
Longitude of ascending node: 348.73936°
Argument of perihelion: 114.20783°
Satellites: 1 natural (The Moon) [8,300+ artificial]

Physical characteristics
Mean radius: 6,371.0 km
Equatorial radius: 6,378.1 km
Polar radius: 6,356.8 km
Flattening: 0.0033528
Circumference: 40,075.017 km (equatorial); 40,007.86 km (meridional)
Surface area: 510,072,000 km2 (148,940,000 km2 land (29.2 %); 361,132,000 km2 water (70.8 %))
Volume: 1.08321×1012 km3
Mass: 5.9736×1024 kg[3]
Mean density: 5.515 g/cm3
Equatorial surface gravity: 9.780327 m/s2; 0.99732 g
Escape velocity: 11.186 km/s
Sidereal rotation period: 0.99726968 d; 23h 56m 4.100s
Equatorial rotation velocity: 1,674.4 km/h (465.1 m/s)
Axial tilt: 23°26'21".4119
Albedo: 0.367 (geometric) : 0.306 (Bond)
Surface temp.
(min : mean : max)
Kelvin: 184 K : 287.2 K : 331 K
Celsius: -89.2 °C : 14 °C : 57.8 °C

Surface pressure: 101.325 kPa (MSL)
78.08% nitrogen (N2)[3]
20.95% oxygen (O2)
0.93% argon
0.038% carbon dioxide
About 1% water vapor (varies with climate)

The Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. Earth is the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets. It is sometimes referred to as the World or by its Latin name, Terra.1


Home to millions of species, including humans, Earth is the only place in the universe where life is known to exist. The planet formed 4.54 billion years ago, and life appeared on its surface within one billion years. Earth's biosphere has significantly altered the atmosphere and other abiotic conditions on the planet, enabling the proliferation of aerobic organisms as well as the formation of the ozone layer which, together with Earth's magnetic field, blocks harmful solar radiation, permitting life on land. The physical properties of the Earth, as well as its geological history and orbit, have allowed life to persist during this period. The planet is expected to continue supporting life for at least another 500 million years.

Earth's outer surface is divided into several rigid segments, or tectonic plates, that migrate across the surface over periods of many millions of years. About 71% of the surface is covered by salt water oceans, with the remainder consisting of continents and islands which together have many lakes and other sources of water that contribute to the hydrosphere. Liquid water, necessary for all known life, is not known to exist in equilibrium on any other planet's surface. Earth's poles are mostly covered with solid ice (Antarctic ice sheet) or sea ice (Arctic ice cap). The planet's interior remains active, with a thick layer of relatively solid mantle, a liquid outer core that generates a magnetic field, and a solid iron inner core.

Earth interacts with other objects in space, especially the Sun and the Moon. At present, Earth orbits the Sun once every 366.26 times it rotates about its own axis, which is equal to 365.26 solar days, or one sidereal year. The Earth's axis of rotation is tilted 23.4° away from the perpendicular of its orbital plane, producing seasonal variations on the planet's surface with a period of one tropical year (365.24 solar days). Earth's only known natural satellite, the Moon, which began orbiting it about 4.53 billion years ago, provides ocean tides, stabilizes the axial tilt, and gradually slows the planet's rotation. Between approximately 3.8 billion and 4.1 billion years ago, numerous asteroid impacts during the Late Heavy Bombardment caused significant changes to the greater surface environment.

Both the mineral resources of the planet, as well as the products of the biosphere, contribute resources that are used to support a global human population. These inhabitants are grouped into about 200 independent sovereign states, which interact through diplomacy, travel, trade, and military action. Human cultures have developed many views of the planet, including personification as a deity, a belief in a flat Earth or in the Earth as the center of the universe, and a modern perspective of the world as an integrated environment that requires stewardship.

Space and orbital characteristics

The Earth has, at this moment, not two motions only, but many more — one round its axis, which we can make evident to the very eye; another round the sun; but what of the others? A most remarkable, and equally mysterious fact; that the sun and all his planets are moving through space (local standard of rest) towards the Lyra-Hercules border. The center of the Milky Way, the Sun, solar system, and nearby stars are moving toward Cygnus. Against the microwave background, the direction is toward a point at the Crater-Virgo border.



The atmosphere of Earth2 is a layer of gases surrounding the planet Earth that is retained by Earth's gravity. The atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention (greenhouse effect), and reducing temperature extremes between day and night (the diurnal temperature variation).


Atmospheric stratification describes the structure of the atmosphere, dividing it into distinct layers, each with specific characteristics such as temperature or composition. The atmosphere has a mass of about 5×1018 kg, three quarters of which is within about 11 km (6.8 mi; 36,000 ft) of the surface. The atmosphere becomes thinner and thinner with increasing altitude, with no definite boundary between the atmosphere and outer space. An altitude of 120 km (75 mi) is where atmospheric effects become noticeable during atmospheric reentry of spacecraft. The Kármán line, at 100 km (62 mi), also is often regarded as the boundary between atmosphere and outer space.

Air is the name given to atmosphere used in breathing and photosynthesis. Dry air contains roughly (by volume) 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.039% carbon dioxide, and small amounts of other gases. Air also contains a variable amount of water vapor, on average around 1%. While air content and atmospheric pressure varies at different layers, air suitable for the survival of terrestrial plants and terrestrial animals is currently only known to be found in Earth's troposphere and artificial atmospheres.

Physical characteristics

Depth Miles : Layer

0–37 Lithosphere
0–22 Crust
22–37 Uppermost part of mantle

22–1,790 Mantle
62–125 Asthenosphere
22–410 Upper mesosphere (upper mantle)
410–1,790 Lower mesosphere (lower mantle)

1,790–3,160 Outer core
3,160–3,954 Inner core

Biomes and ecosystems

Array of living organisms (life forms) can be found in the biosphere on Earth
- Climatically and geographically similar climatic conditions
- Communities of plants, animals, and soil organisms

External articles

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