Happy Earth Day

By Phil Plait | April 22, 2011 8:30 am

Home.

Image credit: NASA

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Pretty pictures
MORE ABOUT: Earth, MODIS, Terra

Comments (35)

  1. Nanobot101

    Quite a home, out beautiful little planet called Terra. I remember a friend of mine in high school that wanted to get that for post card, and send it to me with the caption “Wish you were here!” :)

  2. Be it eva so ‘umble…

  3. Joel

    The Pacific is terrific.

  4. Trebuchet

    New wallpaper! We really do live on a WaterWorld.

  5. While this is a beautiful picture, I think that Pale Blue Dot strikes home even more.

    And the animation someone made is really nice: http://larianlequella.blogspot.com/2011/04/only-home-weve-ever-known.html

  6. Messier Tidy Upper

    Home sweet home indeed. :-)

    For more informaton and images of this blue planet see :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHyXFt_BJok&feature=related

    &

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNOM7WOGGUw

    with some incredible imagery from both very near and very far vantage points. :-)

    & for another angle on it again – see :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThcMzqlSwYo

    If you haven’t already. Gee & it looked so round in it’s other ones didn’t it?;-)

    *****

    “The Earth is the cradle of humanity, but mankind cannot stay in the cradle forever.”
    - Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Imperial Russian and Soviet rocket scientist and pioneer of the astronautic theory.

  7. JohnK

    Trebuchet,

    I have heard many astronauts say the pacific is really big.

  8. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ JohnK :

    …& I think sailors & aviators say that too! ;-)

    @5. Larian LeQuella : You beat me to it – but with quite a different version of that quote. I like .. both! ;-)

    Actually, that must be about the third or fourth version of that one Sagan quote I’ve seen accompanied in varying styles to varying musics and visual backdrops – and yours gets the silver medal to the gold one that I posted above. :-)

    @4. Trebuchet : “New wallpaper! We really do live on a WaterWorld.”

    Depends how you define water world – luckily for us terrestrial land fauna there’s more to Earth than just water! ;-)

  9. Brian

    That’s a particularly nice image. You can see a polar ice cap at the top, too, giving us views of water in all three forms (given that clouds are mostly water vapor).

    It really does look like we named the planet after the wrong ancient element….

  10. Maui front and center, where it belongs. :)

  11. Thameron

    If only it weren’t infected by a pernicious species determined to test it’s Malthusian limits.

    I think what we are seeing is the largest plastic repository on the planet right?

  12. Lau

    Our wonderfull HOME!!! God, pls pls take care OUR HOME!!!

  13. Happy Birthday, Earth! You don’t look a day over 6,000 years old.

  14. Utakata

    …a pale blue dot.

  15. Mike
  16. Steve

    Home for the moment. The tiny room in the hospital of our birth hopefully sooner than later.

  17. katwagner

    Lordy, such a fragile blue ball with wispy white clouds. You’d think we’d take better care of our only home planet. What will it take for all of us to wake up?

  18. Shaun

    Enjoy your Sunday Zombie worshipping.

  19. Esteban

    Ah, such an inviting target for the Psychlos.

  20. Grand Lunar

    It never ceases to amaze, this collection of star stuff we call Earth (which as others have pointed out, really has the wrong name).

    If more people could appreciate how wonderful our world is, we might do a better job of taking care of it. We have the technology!

    As a side note, I have met at least one individual that constently refers Earth as “this miserable rock” (perhaps in an effort to quote Luke Skywalker from episode four, seeing as how much of a fan of that film series she is).

    I doubt many astronauts that have seen Earth from orbit would hold such a view.

  21. Aaron

    The well-being of this planet is far too important to be left in the hands of any god. Instead, it is up to us to treat it responsibly and to give it the respect that it deserves.

  22. 10. Brian Says: “You can see a polar ice cap at the top, too, giving us views of water in all three forms (given that clouds are mostly water vapor).”

    Actually, Brian, clouds are 100% liquid water, but in the form of droplets small enough to be suspended by the atmosphere. Water vapor is invisible (unless you happen to see in the infrared).

    - Jack

  23. For all of you saying that the Earth was named for the wrong element, remember that, proportionally, the oceans are thinner than the skin of an apple.

    - Jack

  24. Ray

    To celebrate Earth Day this morning I dumped 10 quarts of used motor oil in the river. In a few thousand years someone will be pumping that back up out of the ground and using it to fuel a flying car. The circle of life is complete.

    And before any of the humor-deprived tree-huggers have a coronary, I didn’t really dump the oil in the river. I took it to the local auto parts store and dumped it in their tank. When its full, THEY will then dump it in the river. Either way, the circle of life is complete.

  25. Brian

    Actually, Brian, clouds are 100% liquid water, but in the form of droplets small enough to be suspended by the atmosphere. Water vapor is invisible (unless you happen to see in the infrared).

    A mere technicality, easily ignored with a recently validated poetic license.

  26. Actually, elements~wise the Earth’s main element is iron – which makes up most of its chemical composition albeit slightly over oxygen and silicon :

    “It [the Earth] is composed mostly of iron (32.1%), oxygen (30.1%), silicon (15.1%), magnesium (13.9%), sulfur (2.9%), nickel (1.8%), calcium (1.5%), and aluminium (1.4%); with the remaining 1.2% consisting of trace amounts of other elements. Due to mass segregation, the core region is believed to be primarily composed of iron (88.8%), with smaller amounts of nickel (5.8%), sulfur (4.5%), and less than 1% trace elements.”

    Click on my name for the source for that quote – wikipedia. [Brackets] added for clarity.

    Most of our Earth’s crust however is Silicon and most of our planets atmosphere is Nitrogen.
    So, depending how you look at things, Earth is elementally an iron, silicon or nitrogen world! ;-)

    PS. Bonus quirkyfact : Oddly enough the only other world whose atmosphere is composed mostly of nitrogen is Pluto.

    *****

    “There were no fires in the Martian desert. In fact, of all the worlds in the solar system only Earth with its oxygen-rich atmosphere knew fire.”
    - Page 43, ‘Voyage’, Stephen Baxter, Harper-Collins, 1996.

  27. 26. Brian Says: “A mere technicality, easily ignored with a recently validated poetic license.”
    :-)

    - Jack

  28. Grand Lunar

    “In a few thousand years someone will be pumping that back up out of the ground and using it to fuel a flying car.”

    Flying cars are SO overrated!

    “Most of our Earth’s crust however is Silicon and most of our planets atmosphere is Nitrogen.
    So, depending how you look at things, Earth is elementally an iron, silicon or nitrogen world!”

    So would a good alternate be planet Ferrous?

  29. Jeff

    for 30 years I’ve showed my students a typical scale model of the solar system, picture this, the sun is a big yellow poster board cutout I made as big as me, the earth and venus are marbles about 1 cm across and of course I have sunspots magic markered in on the sun bigger than earth.

    I complain to students that companies do not understand how small the earth is and even smaller the biosphere like the skin of an apple, and dump products wantonly on this tiny world . Are we citizens deciding which products and how much environmental degradation we’ll tolerate from these companies, or are a group of greedy executives deciding this. The young generation had better figure it out, because it is their earth now.

  30. Silent Bob

    @ 27 Messier Tidy Upper

    Bonus quirkyfact : Oddly enough the only other world whose atmosphere is composed mostly of nitrogen is Pluto.

    I was expecting someone else to pick you up on this, but I guess I’m going to have to de-lurk and do it myself :-)

    Your quirkyfact is quirkyfiction. Titan not only has a richer nitrogen atmosphere than Earth, it is actually denser than Earth’s.

    And if you were thinking of excluding Titan because it’s not a “world”, let me point out that it is much more “world-like” than Pluto; being twice as big and having not only a thick atmosphere, but weather!

    http://www.nasawatch.com/archives/2011/03/rain-on-titan.html

  31. Carey

    I was under the impression that most of the crust is oxygen, not silicon, due to the fact that, in general, for every silicon atom, there are probably two oxygen atoms bound to it (silicon dioxide).

    Edit: Here we go. Wikipedia doesn’t lie: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abundance_of_elements_in_Earth%27s_crust

  32. Quiet Desperation

    I remember a friend of mine in high school that wanted to get that for post card, and send it to me with the caption “Wish you were here!”

    I have a lot of use for a similar card that says “Wish you weren’t here”. Can I get several crates of those? ;-)

  33. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ 31. Silent Bob :

    Your quirkyfact is quirkyfiction. Titan not only has a richer nitrogen atmosphere than Earth, it is actually denser than Earth’s. And if you were thinking of excluding Titan because it’s not a “world”, let me point out that it is much more “world-like” than Pluto; being twice as big and having not only a thick atmosphere, but weather!

    Hmm .. Must admit that I had forgotten about Titan – but I will note that Pluto does have weather of sorts too. Apparently it’s atmosphere snows out in the Plutonian autumn/ winter and then re-evaporates in Plutonian spring / summer. Unlike Titan Pluto also has a moon or three (Charon, Nix and Hydra) plus possibly a ring system so Pluto is cooler in more ways than one, methinks! Not that Titan isn’t a fascinating world of its own too, mind. ;-)

    ***

    “During its summer, the frozen nitrogen on Pluto evapourates to create a temporary atmosphere. With the onset of winter the nitrogen turns to frost and falls back to the surface. On Pluto the winter weather doesn’t merely deteriorate – it completely disappears.”
    – Page 19, ‘The Planets’, McNab & Younger, BBC Worldwide Ltd., 1999.

  34. Tom

    Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed ~
    Mahatma Gandhi

    From : http://www.finestquotes.com/quote_with-keyword-Earth-page-0.htm#ixzz1V0trydSy

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