The Earth acts as a magnet because of electric currents generated through the movement of iron in the Earth's molten core. This motion creates a very weak magnetic force that expands from Earth reaching tens of thousands of miles into space.Know More
The electric forces emanating from the Earth's core result in electromagnetic forces with magnetic poles near the North and South Poles. These magnetic forces are why compasses point toward north; the magnetic component of the compass is attracted to the forces at the North Pole. The magnetic North Pole is slightly offset from the geographic North Pole. The magnetic axis of the Earth tilts slightly away from the axis of rotation, and this tilt varies from year to year. On average, the magnetic axis is about 11.3 degrees offset from the axis of rotation.
The magnetic field of the Earth keeps the planet safe from hazardous radiation in space. The sun constantly releases charged, radioactive particles. These particles are known as solar wind. The magnetic field keeps these radioactive particles from raining down on the surface of the Earth. As the particles approach Earth, the magnetic forces deflect them around the atmosphere. Without these forces, the particles would destroy the Earth's atmosphere and expose the plants and animals to deadly amounts of radiation. Scientists believe solar winds stripped the atmosphere from Mars because Mars does not produce protective magnetic fields.Learn more about Earth Science
The Earth has a radius of 3,959 miles, a diameter of 7,926 miles and a circumference of 24,902 miles. Earth has a mass of 6.6 sextillion tons and a total surface area of 197 million square miles. It is the fifth largest planet in the solar system.Full Answer >
Astronomers theorize that over 4.5 billion years ago, Theia, an object about the size of Mars, collided with Earth to create a tilted axis. This is called "the giant impact theory." Prior to this event, the axis was straight at 180 degrees.Full Answer >
If the Earth had no axial tilt, there would be no seasons. The climate would remain the same for a given location on Earth year-round, and life as commonly known would likely not exist.Full Answer >
Earth and other solid planets are presumed to have formed through the process known as accretion, in which the sun-orbiting objects collided and formed progressively larger bodies. Planetary accretion began within a disk of dust and gas (primarily hydrogen) revolving around the Sun. The gas and dust were a by-product of the collapse of the molecular cloud core during the formation of the Sun.Full Answer >