Questions regarding the planet on which humans live, the third planet from the sun.

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17
votes
2answers
3k views

Does the Earth have another moon?

I was just wondering what are the chances that there is a small object (say less than 1 km but more than few meters) that orbits the Earth but has remained undetected by us? Are we actually ...
15
votes
3answers
283 views

Are we made of the stuff of one star or more stars?

[T]his coincidence enabled stars in the late stages of their lives to turn helium into carbon, oxygen and most of the other atoms that you and I are made of. [...] [W]e're made of star stuff. Max ...
15
votes
1answer
881 views

Can you see man-made lights on the dark side of the Earth from the surface of the moon with the naked eye?

This question is prompted from a comment on this answer: Could a person on the surface of the moon see man-made lights on the dark side of the Earth with the naked eye? If not, how much magnification ...
13
votes
1answer
331 views

Could any known, living organisms on Earth survive on Mars?

No life has been discovered outside of Earth (yet?), but do we know if anything that would be considered "living" on Earth could conquer Mars? (or maybe Venus?) With the Mars One project on the way, ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the distance that the Moon travels during one orbit around the Earth?

Also, does it always take the same amount of time, or does it fractionally differ on each revolution?
11
votes
2answers
445 views

Why does the Earth have a tilt of ~23°?

Is there a reason that the Earth has the tilt that it does (~23°)? How do we know which way is supposed to be 0°? Does this tilt have major consequences on the planet? Has it changed and will it ...
11
votes
2answers
420 views

Do other planets in our solar system experience eclipses or is this unique to Earth?

Here on Earth we get to experience lunar and solar eclipses. Is this pure coincidence that everything happens to line up? Do other planets in the solar system experience this phenomenon or is this ...
11
votes
1answer
228 views

If the moon wasn't receding from Earth, what would be the impact on the weather and tides?

Moon is slowly receding from Earth, which means that after its formation it was much closer to the Earth than now. How would weather look like if it wasn't receding at it would be now as close as at ...
11
votes
1answer
176 views

How stable are Lissajous orbits?

Now that the Gaia Space Telescope is on it's way to the Sun-Earth L2 Lagrangian point (SEL2), I start wondering about the stability of Gaia's orbit there. The Planck Telescope is already there, as was ...
10
votes
3answers
399 views

Is it a coincidence that both the sun and moon look of same size from earth?

The sun is huge when compared to moon. Despite the huge difference in their size and distance from earth, Is it purely coincidental that they both look almost the same from earth?
10
votes
2answers
480 views

Why do stars appear to twinkle?

Sometimes at night you will look up to the stars and they will appear to twinkle, getting brighter and darker in bursts. Why does this happen? Is this because of our atmosphere? Would they twinkle ...
10
votes
1answer
123 views

Were effects of a planetary magnetic field reversal observed on other planets than Earth?

From geological records in rocks and minerals we know that the magnetic field of Earth changed its polarity multiple times in the history. See Geomagnetic reversal. Was a similar process of a ...
9
votes
6answers
965 views

Why doesn't Earth's axis change during the year?

My understanding is that the Earth's axis points in the same direction in space during its entire orbit around the sun. And this is what causes our seasons. My question is why doesn't the axis follow ...
9
votes
2answers
257 views

Why is the Moon receding from the Earth due to tides? Is this typical for other moons?

After reading the Q&A Is the moon moving further away from Earth and closer to the Sun? Why? about the tides transferring energy to the Moon and pushing it from Earth, I have a question: How is ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Why isn't Earth a perfect sphere? [closed]

In general, almost everyone describes Earth as an perfect sphere, but in reality it isn't a perfect sphere. Is there any specific reason why Earth is not perfect sphere ?
9
votes
3answers
289 views

How can the Earth's rotation speed up? [closed]

It is known as a fact that Earth's rotation is slowing every year, that's why we sometimes have 61 seconds long minutes. In the Java documentation of Time : ...
8
votes
6answers
719 views

Why don't we have 2 Summers and 2 Winters?

Due to Earth's elliptical orbit, its distance from Sun varies by almost 5 million Kilometers (147 million Kilometers at closest point & 152 million Kilometers at farthest point, i.e. almost 3% of ...
8
votes
2answers
192 views

Why is the Earth's center still hot after millions of years? [closed]

Why didn't the center of the earth cool after millions or billions of years? What keeps it hot?
8
votes
2answers
157 views

Could Venus be a source of Earth's water?

I've watched documentaries about the solar system, where it is suggested that Venus once had oceans of liquid water similar to those that cover most of Earth today. Venus is now in a period of ...
8
votes
1answer
158 views

Changes to Earth's orbit

Any time a spacecraft comes in close proximity to a planet and if the spacecraft has the right angle then it is able to use the planet's velocity to move itself further into space. According to ...
8
votes
1answer
278 views

How do people measure the distance between the earth and the moon?

How do people measure the distance between the earth and the moon? What methods were used? Where can I find the official data?
8
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the current theory for the formation of the Earth's Moon?

Given that the Earth and Moon are often said in the literature to have very similar geochemistry, what is the current theory as to how the Earth's Moon formed?
8
votes
1answer
3k views

How would Earth's climate differ if it's axis were tilted around 90 degrees like Uranus? [closed]

As the title states, what would the effect on Earth's climate be if it's axis were tilted approximately 90 degrees like Uranus? I'm specifically wondering about the effects on seasons, temperature, ...
8
votes
1answer
85 views

What is the relevance of the Tropics and the Polar Circles? Do they Exist on other planets?

The middle line is the equator, the second and fourth line are the tropics, the first and fifth are the polar circles. What is the relevance of these bands on Earth? Do these exist on other ...
8
votes
2answers
150 views

How often does Earth cross the galaxy regions with higher supernovae activity?

According to Summa Technologiae, a book by a Polish author Stanisław Lem that based his science fiction novels on scientific research of the era, the Earth crossed in the moment of forming of life the ...
7
votes
4answers
199 views

What will a lunar eclipse look like from moon?

What will a lunar eclipse look like from moon? Will earth become a completely dark circle?
7
votes
2answers
355 views

Why haven't Earth and Venus got any tiny moons? Or have they?

Why haven't some meteoroids gotten caught in Earth's or Venus' orbit? AFAIK most meteors are tiny fragments from comets. Shouldn't some comet tail sometime have passed Earth orbit at velocities ...
7
votes
1answer
73 views

Why does mars appear to retreat across the sky?

If you plot the movement of mars across the Earth's sky it appears to move back on itself during its orbit. Why does it appear to have a loop shape from Earth?
7
votes
1answer
133 views

As days get longer, why isn't the added daylight split evenly between sunrise and sunset?

I have a basic understanding of the sinusoidal relationship of the rate of change of daylight as the year goes on. But it seems intuitive that the changes should be equally split between sunrise and ...
7
votes
1answer
107 views

Did a piece of Halley's comet strike the Earth 1,500 years ago?

A friend showed me an article saying that there's evidence that a piece of Halley's comet may have struck the earth about 1,500 years ago. Is anyone here aware of such evidence?
6
votes
2answers
878 views

Does the Moon's magnetic field affect Earth's magnetic field?

I wanted to ask a question; it's simple but I cannot find any possible and perfect solution. Earth has poles, North and South. By which we can get directions using a compass or a needle compass, but ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

If Earth didn't rotate, would we feel heavier? [closed]

Suppose the Earth's rotation slowed for some reason. Would the lack of centrifugal force cause us to feel heavier than normal? Likewise, if Earth's rotation increased, would we feel lighter as ...
6
votes
1answer
62 views

Earth and ferromagnetism [closed]

Earth's core is a giant liquid iron ball actually. If I know well, the magnetic field of our planet (that protects the surface from some particles comes from the Sun) can exist because as Earth ...
6
votes
1answer
48 views

Is there a pattern between the mass of a body and the mass of orbiting objects around it?

I was looking at Wikipedia's Solar system page, and it says that Sun represents 99.86% of the whole solar system mass. I found that pretty huge. So i calculated ratio of masses : Earth / (Earth + ...
6
votes
2answers
131 views

Is it possible for a person to not see the new moon at different places on earth?

It is known that theoretically we see the same moon phase everywhere on the earth, but practically I see that people are unable to observe the 0.8% waxing crescent at different places on earth. This ...
6
votes
1answer
96 views

Why does this graph for sunlight intensity on land has a steeper slope during sunrise as compared to sunset?

I got this image while checking weather data for a city in North India using Mathematica's Wolfram Alpha query I noticed one feature in the graph which i could not explain . Why does the encircled ...
5
votes
1answer
248 views

How much of an effect does the moon have on Earth's liquid mantle?

The gravitational pull of the moon is enough to create tidal forces of large bodies of liquid, i.e the sea. I was having a conversation the other day about how to terraform Mars, and someone ...
5
votes
2answers
78 views

Meteorites bring water

The latest information suggests that Earth's water came from Meteorites . The Moon was also bombarded by Meteorites and yet it has no water. Is this because it lacks an atmosphere and its water was ...
5
votes
2answers
129 views

Tide on the Moon

If the Earth's Moon had a water ocean of depth 2-4 Km, how high would the tides rise due to the Earth's gravity? (Just a hypothetical question.)
5
votes
2answers
65 views

Would it be possible to calculate the expected frequency of impact craters of all sizes on Earth

Can the expected frequency of all sizes of impact craters on Earth be calculated based on the preservation of impact craters seen on the Moon? Taking into account the difference in gravity and ...
4
votes
4answers
453 views

Did we ever actually see the earth revolving around the sun? Is the geocentric model completely disproved?

Did we ever actually see the Earth revolving around the Sun? Also, is the geocentric model completely disproved or was it sidelined because the heliocentric model made things easier to understand? ...
4
votes
2answers
367 views

Will Earth lose the Moon before the Sun goes into supernova?

Ive read on some sites and saw on youtube videos that the moon is getting away from earth by 1-3 cm a year. Is this enough to make the Earth lose the Moon before the Sun goes into Supernova? Im ...
4
votes
1answer
156 views

How many earths fit in the observable universe?

I was pondering our insignificance, when I wondered - how how much smaller is our planet then the (observable) universe? And being as I dont know how to do the math, I'm asking it here. So how many ...
4
votes
2answers
136 views

What would happen if we put a small part of White Dwarf or Neutron Star on Earth?

I would know what would happen if we put a small part (let me assume 1 cm$^3$) of White Dwarf or Neutron Star on ...
4
votes
1answer
162 views

From what distance can one object influence gravity of another object?

Each object in the universe has its own gravitational influence on all other objects in the universe. What distance do they have to be from each other to create only one gravitational influence? ...
4
votes
2answers
180 views

Can I look at the sky and find the day of the week?

Suppose I wake up from a coma on a desert island in the 19th century (i.e. we already use the Gregorian calendar but have no satellites yet). I have a clear view of the sky and a couple of days to ...
4
votes
1answer
147 views

“If earth had rings like Saturn”: A few further thoughts on the consequences

I came across this video recently where artists depicted what it would look like if Earth had rings like Saturn. http://www.wimp.com/earthrings/ Please note: The video contains already some ...
4
votes
1answer
190 views

What distance has the moon been from earth at the closest?

For every year, the moon is orbiting further away from earth. What distance has the moon been from earth at the closest?
4
votes
1answer
75 views

How bright is the full Earth during the lunar midnight?

At lunar midnight (i.e. the new moon as seen from Earth), the Earth is in its full phase with its entire disk in sunlight, and it is the brightest object in the lunar sky. How bright is it, and how ...
4
votes
2answers
207 views

What mechanism causes oscillations of the solar system's orbit about the galactic plane?

In a recent paper (news release here) Lisa Randall and Matthew Reece propose that a dark matter disk coinciding with the galactic plane together with the solar system's oscillations through the ...