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Earth is third planet from the sun and the fifth most massive. It is the planet we live on and the only planet in the universe known to have life. Like the other inner planets, Earth is a rocky planet.

Earth is our home and the only planet in the universe we know has life. (Other planets may have life, but we haven’t found any yet!) The Earth is the third planet from the Sun. It takes 24 hours for the Earth to make a full rotation on its axis and it takes 365.25 days to complete a revolution around the Sun, hence why every fourth year is a leap year. Earth rotates about a tilted axis which gives the planet different seasons; the poles point towards and away from the Sun at different times of the years. It takes light from the Sun about 8 minutes to reach the Earth.

The Earth is approximated to be over 4.5 billion years old. It formed when a cloud of dust started to collapse due to gravity. Like Mercury, Venus and Mars, the Earth is a rocky planet. It has a central core, surrounded by a mantle and a solid crust. The Earth has a solid inner core surrounded by a liquid outer core. The largest layer in the structure of the Earth is the mantle which sits between the thin solid outer layer, called the crust, and the outer core. 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water and has an average depth of 4 km. The largest body of water on Earth is the Pacific Ocean, which has a maximum depth of 11 km and an area of 180,000,000 km2.

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Earth Facts

  • Orbital Period: 365.25 Earth days
  • Length of a Day: 24 hours
  • Diameter: 12,756 km
  • Distance from the Sun: 149,600,000 km
  • Strength of Gravity: 9.8 N/kg
  • Number of Moons: 1

Be sure to check out other science resources on Earth!

Learn more about the stars and other celestial bodies in our Picture Encyclopedia of Astronomy Terms!
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