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Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 71% is covered with water, mostly by oceans but also by lakes, rivers and other fresh water, which together constitute the hydrosphere. Much of Earth's polar regions are covered in ice. Earth's outer layer is divided into several rigid tectonic plates that migrate across the surface over many millions of years. Earth's interior remains active with a solid iron inner core, a liquid outer core that generates Earth's magnetic field, and a convecting mantle that drives plate tectonics.

According to radiometric dating estimation and other evidence, Earth formed over 4.5 billion years ago. Within the first billion years of Earth's history, life appeared in the oceans and began to affect Earth's atmosphere and surface, leading to the proliferation of anaerobic and, later, aerobic organisms. Some geological evidence indicates that life may have arisen as early as 4.1 billion years ago. Since then, the combination of Earth's distance from the Sun, physical properties and geological history have allowed life to evolve and thrive. In the history of life on Earth, biodiversity has gone through long periods of expansion, occasionally punctuated by mass extinctions. Over 99% of all species that ever lived on Earth are extinct. Almost 8 billion humans live on Earth and depend on its biosphere and natural resources for their survival. Humans increasingly impact Earth's hydrology, atmospheric processes and other life.

Earth's atmosphere consists mostly of nitrogen and oxygen. Tropical regions receive more energy from the Sun than polar regions, which is redistributed by atmospheric and ocean circulation. Greenhouse gases also play an important role in regulating the surface temperature. A region's climate is not only determined by latitude, but also by its proximity to moderating oceans and height among other factors. Extreme weather, such as tropical cyclones and heat waves, occurs in most areas and has a large impact on life.

Earth's gravity interacts with other objects in space, especially the Sun and the Moon, which is Earth's only natural satellite. Earth orbits around the Sun in about 365.25 days. Earth's axis of rotation is tilted with respect to its orbital plane, producing seasons on Earth. The gravitational interaction between Earth and the Moon causes tides, stabilizes Earth's orientation on its axis, and gradually slows its rotation. Earth is the densest planet in the Solar System and the largest and most massive of the four rocky planets.

Earth Media

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ISS042E135486 (01/10/2015) --- Just another sunny day in the Caribbean sea as viewed by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. This image was tweeted out by NASA astronaut Terry Virts as he captured the Earth observation of #Cuba and #Bahamas on Jan. 10, 2015. iss042e135486

ISS042E135486 (01/10/2015) --- Just another sunny day in the Caribbean...

ISS042E135486 (01/10/2015) --- Just another sunny day in the Caribbean sea as viewed by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. This image was tweeted out by NASA astronaut Terry Virts as he captured... More

Chinese Tube: Emblem of Earth

Chinese Tube: Emblem of Earth

Accession Number: 16.144.37 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Chinese Tube: Emblem of Earth

Chinese Tube: Emblem of Earth

Accession Number: 13.40.74 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Chinese Tube: Emblem of Earth

Chinese Tube: Emblem of Earth

Accession Number: 16.144.29 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Double Bead: Emblem of Earth

Double Bead: Emblem of Earth

Accession Number: 11.190.72 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Chinese Tube: Emblem of Earth

Chinese Tube: Emblem of Earth

Accession Number: 16.144.36 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Double Bead: Emblem of Earth

Double Bead: Emblem of Earth

Accession Number: 13.40.108 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Chinese Tube: Emblem of Earth

Chinese Tube: Emblem of Earth

Accession Number: 16.144.39 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Chinese Tube: Emblem of Earth

Chinese Tube: Emblem of Earth

Accession Number: 13.40.72 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Double Bead: Emblem of Earth

Double Bead: Emblem of Earth

Accession Number: 13.40.83 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Chinese Tube: Emblem of Earth

Chinese Tube: Emblem of Earth

Accession Number: 13.40.67 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Chinese Emblem of Earth

Chinese Emblem of Earth

Accession Number: 17.118.46 Zhou dynasty (1046–256 B.C.)

Double Bead: Emblem of Earth

Double Bead: Emblem of Earth

Accession Number: 11.190.241 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Double Bead: Emblem of Earth

Double Bead: Emblem of Earth

Accession Number: 13.40.81 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Double Bead: Emblem of Earth

Double Bead: Emblem of Earth

Accession Number: 11.190.245 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Panel from a Sarcophagus Depicting the Abduction of Persephone
Dish (piatto); The story of Hercules: Hercules lifts the giant Antaeus clear of the Earth, his mother, from whom he derived his phenomenal strength
Figure of an Earth Spirit

Figure of an Earth Spirit

Tang dynasty (618–907)

Vessel of the Dancing Lords
Demons on an Elephant with Nan Brah Dharani, the Earth Goddess, Wringing Water from Her Hair
Leaf from a Beatus Manuscript: the First Angel Sounds the Trumpet; Fire, Hail-stones, and Blood are Cast Upon the Earth
Leaf from a Beatus Manuscript: at the Clarion of the Fifth Angel's Trumpet, a Star Falls from the Sky; the Bottomless Pit is Opened with a Key; Emerging from the Smoke, Locusts Come Upon the Earth and Torment the Deathless
Finial with the Earth Goddess, Nan Brah Dharani, and Standing Vishnu
Creation of Earth from BL Eg 856, f. 4

Creation of Earth from BL Eg 856, f. 4

Miniature of the Creation of Earth. Image taken from f. 4 of Bible History. Written in German.

Diagram of the dimensions of the Earth from BL YT 31, f. 64

Diagram of the dimensions of the Earth from BL YT 31, f. 64

Diagram of the dimensions of the earth, with circumference and diameter inscribed, in Matfré Ermengau of Béziers's Breviari d'Amour. Image taken from f. 64 of Breviari d'Amor (Catalan prose version). Written in... More

Heaven and Earth from BL YT 36, f. 130

Heaven and Earth from BL YT 36, f. 130

Detail of a miniature of Beatrice explaining to Dante that the universe is a hierarchy of being, with creatures devoid of reason in the early 'sea of being', and heaven as nine spheres rules by the figure of lo... More

Properties of earth and water from BL YT 31, f. 63

Properties of earth and water from BL YT 31, f. 63

Diagram of the earth standing out of the water like a mound, illustrating the properties of the elements of earth and water, in Matfré Ermengau of Béziers's Breviari d'Amour. Image taken from f. 63 of Breviari ... More

The first heaven and the first earth, and the new Jerusalem from BL Harley 4972, f. 37v

The first heaven and the first earth, and the new Jerusalem from BL Ha...

Miniatures of John's vision of the destruction of the first heaven and the first earth, and the creation of the new Jerusalem. Image taken from f. 37v of Apocalypse with prologue of Gilbert de la Porrée (ff. 1-... More

Amphiaraus swallowed up by the earth from BL Stowe 54, f. 22

Amphiaraus swallowed up by the earth from BL Stowe 54, f. 22

Bas-de-page miniature of Amphiaraus on his horse-drawn chariot falling into the abyss while fighting against the Thebans. Image taken from f. 22 of Histoire ancienne jusqu'à César. Written in French.

Heaven and Earth from BL YT 36, f. 130

Heaven and Earth from BL YT 36, f. 130

Miniature of Beatrice explaining to Dante that the universe is a hierarchy of being, with creatures devoid of reason in the early 'sea of being', and heaven as nine spheres rules by the figure of love. Image ta... More

The Israelites at Kadesh: Dathan and Abiram swallowed by the earth (1st of 3)
The dream of Jacob: while sleeping on the ground with a stone for pillow Jacob sees a ladder reaching from earth to heaven, with angels ascending and God at the top of the ladder
Earth from BL Sloane 2435, f. 113

Earth from BL Sloane 2435, f. 113

Illuminated miniature of the earth and astronomical system. Image taken from f. 113 of Le Régime du corps (ff. 1-75v); Image du monde (ff. 77-133v). Written in French (Walloon dialect).

Jupiter deprives Lara of her tongue, Naiads, Juturna(?), Juno(?); the cosmos (world) divided in sky (ether and air) and earth (water and land); souls; God at the beginning of the creation: division of sea and earth; creation of birds; creation of fishes; creation of beasts
of the field (background)
The dream of Jacob: while sleeping on the ground with a stone for pillow Jacob sees a ladder reaching from earth to heaven, with angels ascending and descending (3rd of 3)
The earth from BL Eg 2781, f. 1v

The earth from BL Eg 2781, f. 1v

Miniature of the earth, with God and angels at the top, and falling angels becoming devils. Image taken from f. 1v of Book of Hours, Use of Sarum (The 'Neville of Hornby Hours'). Written in Latin and French.

Manna falls to the earth
There exist three kinds of beings with a rational soul, according to Platonists like Apuleius, who writes about it in his book 'On The God of Socrates': the gods in heaven, the demons in the air and the men on earth
New Earth from BL Royal 19 B XV, f. 40v

New Earth from BL Royal 19 B XV, f. 40v

Miniature of an angel and the vision of the New Earth, and a miniature of John with an angel and the vision of the New Sea, illustrating Revelation 21:1. Image taken from f. 40v of Apocalypse, with commentary (... More

Gods were also made seen as parts of the world: Apollo as the sun, Diana as the moon; Vulcan in his smithy on the island Lemnos ('Lannos') as the fire of the world; four men and a woman (the Earth?)
Ritual Cache
Janus on his throne (the celestial god or sky) and Tellus (terrestrial goddess or earth) between animals
The Creation: division of sea and earth; creation of trees and plants
The earth is torn asunder in Flanders
The Creation: division of sea and earth (3rd of 8)
The Creation: division of sea and earth (2nd of 7)
Plato's four elements arranged in a symmetrical order: air (with birds) and water (with fishes) between the two extremes; these are: the motionless earth with human beings, plants and terrestrial animals, and the most mobile element: fire with devils
God and his Creation: the sky, the earth and everything that exists in them: men, women, animals, plants and angels
The Creation: division of sea and earth
The earth from BL Eg 843, f. 23

The earth from BL Eg 843, f. 23

Miniature of the earth in a circle, with personifications of the four cardinal points. Image taken from f. 23 of Tractatus de sphaera (index De sphera); Hippocras, De Contemptu Mundi; Astronomical treatises, et... More

Heaven and Earth from BL Royal 19 B XV, f. 40v

Heaven and Earth from BL Royal 19 B XV, f. 40v

Detail of a miniature of the new Heaven and Earth, and the new Jerusalem. Image taken from f. 40v of Apocalypse, with commentary (The 'Queen Mary Apocalypse'), with the prologue of Gilbert de la Porrée translat... More

The Creation: division of sea and earth; creation of trees and plants
The Creation: division of sea and earth
The Creation: division of sea and earth (3rd of 8)
Map of the earth from BL Harley 2772, f. 70v

Map of the earth from BL Harley 2772, f. 70v

Map of the earth surrounded and divided by the ocean into two hemispheres with two uninhabitable zones at the extreme north and south. Image taken from f. 70v of Commentary on Cicero's Somnium Scipionis, fragme... More

Diagram of the earth from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 48v

Diagram of the earth from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 48v

Diagram of the dimensions of the earth. Image taken from f. 48v of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Saturn, Jupiter and Juno make the earth fertile
New Heaven and Earth from BL Royal 15 D II, f. 198v

New Heaven and Earth from BL Royal 15 D II, f. 198v

Detail of a miniature of John standing in witness before the revelation of the New Heaven and the New Earth, in illustration of Revelation 21:1. Image taken from f. 198v of La lumiere as lais; Apocalypse (the '... More

John and the beast from the earth from BL Royal 15 D II, f. 160

John and the beast from the earth from BL Royal 15 D II, f. 160

Detail of a miniature of John and four worshippers standing before the beast from the earth, with two horns, in illustration of Revelation 13:11. Image taken from f. 160 of La lumiere as lais; Apocalypse (the '... More

God creating the Earth from BL Royal 17 E VII, f. 3

God creating the Earth from BL Royal 17 E VII, f. 3

Detail of a miniature of God creating the Earth. Image taken from f. 3 of La Bible historiale complétée (Genesis - Psalms). Written in French.

The dream of Jacob: while sleeping on the ground with a stone for pillow Jacob sees two ladders reaching from earth to heaven, with angels ascending and descending and God at the top of the ladders
The Creation: division of sea and earth; creation of trees and plants
Creation of the earth from BL Royal 15 D III, f. 4

Creation of the earth from BL Royal 15 D III, f. 4

Miniature of the creation of the earth. Image taken from f. 4 of Bible historiale, the early version. Written in French.

Aztec Earth Monster (Tlaltecuhtli)
The Creation: division of sea and earth
Earth Monster (Tlaltecuhtli), arts of africa oceania and the americas
The Creation: division of sea and earth; creation of trees and plants (4th of 7)
Portrait medal of Don Inigo d'Avalos (obverse); Sphere Representing Earth, Sea, and Sky (reverse)
Portrait medal of Don Inigo d'Avalos (obverse); Sphere Representing Earth, Sea, and Sky (reverse)
The dream of Jacob: while sleeping on the ground with a stone for pillow Jacob sees a ladder reaching from earth to heaven, with angels ascending and descending and God at the top of the ladder
Table with the connection between sun, moon and earth
Six angels with the six vials, bringing disasters and destruction upon the earth and mankind (1st of 3)
The five zones of the earth of Macrobius
Two angels proclaiming the day of judgement; the Son of Man (Christ) with a sickle (scythe) and a cross; an angel comes out of the temple crying to him to thrust the sickle into the earth and to reap; a second angel, who controls the fire, cries from his altar to the third
angel, who carries a sickle, to thrust his sickle into the earth and gather the vine (2nd of 2)
The orbits of the planets and the zones of the earth
The seventh angel with his vial, bringing disasters and destruction upon the earth and mankind; Christ and Mary; a voice from heaven; people gathered at Armageddon (3rd of 3)
Shadows of the earth from BL Royal 19 A IX, f. 104

Shadows of the earth from BL Royal 19 A IX, f. 104

Miniature of diagrams to show the shadow of the earth. Image taken from f. 104 of L'image du Monde. Written in French.

The Creation: division of sea and earth
[Earth, the sun, and moon carried on dragon's back below title in decorative border]

[Earth, the sun, and moon carried on dragon's back below title in deco...

Title page in: Astronomicum caesareum / Petrus Apianus. [Ingolstadii, 1540] Published in: The tradition of science / Leonard C. Bruno. Washington, D.C. : Library of Congress, 1987, p.43.

[Medieval depiction of earth as wheel encircled by ocean; and surrounding text]

[Medieval depiction of earth as wheel encircled by ocean; and surround...

Illus. in: Etymologiae / Saint Isidorus, Bishop of Seville. G. Zainer, 1472. Ref. copy in: The tradition of science / Leonard C. Bruno. Washington, D.C. : Library of Congress, 1987, p. 7.

[Medieval universe, with heaven above, bands containing stars, and earth below]

[Medieval universe, with heaven above, bands containing stars, and ear...

Illus. in: Buch der natur / Konrad von Megenberg. Augsburg : Johann Bamier, 1481. Ref. copy in: The tradition of science / Leonard C. Bruno. Washington, D.C. : Library of Congress, 1987, p. 8.

Dish (piatto); The story of Hercules: Hercules lifts the giant Antaeus clear of the Earth, his mother, from whom he derived his phenomenal strength
Lake Garda, Italy - NASA satellite images

Lake Garda, Italy - NASA satellite images

This ASTER image was acquired on July 29, 2000 and covers an area of 30 by 57 km in northern Italy. Lake Garda was formed by glaciers during the last Ice Age, and is Italy's largest lake. Lago di Garda lies in ... More

Earth Observations taken by the Expedition 13 crew

Earth Observations taken by the Expedition 13 crew

ISS013-E-66488 (14 Aug. 2006) --- Ash cloud from Ubinas Volcano, Peru is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 13 crewmember on the International Space Station (ISS). Subduction of the Nazca tect... More

Permanebit in Terris (Continue on Earth)

Permanebit in Terris (Continue on Earth)

Anonymous, Italian, 16th century

Space Radar Image of Moscow, Russia

Space Radar Image of Moscow, Russia

This is a vertically polarized L-band image of the southern half of Moscow, an area which has been inhabited for 2,000 years. The image covers a diameter of approximately 50 kilometers (31 miles) and was taken ... More

Haley Kinarg holds a bird during the Earth Day Celebration

Haley Kinarg holds a bird during the Earth Day Celebration

Haley Kinarg holds a bird during the Earth Day Celebration at Joint Base Charleston - Air Base, March 28. More than 1000 students attended the 16th Annual Earth Day Celebration. The celebration has interactive ... More

Dish (piatto); The story of Hercules: the gods called upon Hercules to help them defend Olympus against the attack of the Giants, sons of Uranus and Gaea (Heaven and Earth)
Dish (piatto); The story of Hercules: the gods called upon Hercules to help them defend Olympus against the attack of the Giants, sons of Uranus and Gaea (Heaven and Earth)
Scheme of the planets, sun, moon, constellations and the zones of the earth
The angel with the golden censer filling it with the fire of the altar and casting it into the earth (6th of 6)
The first angel sounds: hail and fire mixed with blood are cast upon the earth, burning the trees (1st of 3)
When the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he pursued the pregnant woman; to the woman were given two wings; a flood of water bursts from the dragon's mouth; the earth (represented as a head) opens its mouth and swallows the flood (1st of 2)
The two-horned beast out of the earth and the beast out of the sea are worshipped (2nd of 2)
The seventh angel with his vial, bringing disasters and destruction upon the earth and mankind; Christ and Mary; A voice from heaven; People gathered at Armageddon (3rd of 3)
Table with the connection between sun, moon and earth
Six angels with the six vials, bringing disasters and destruction upon the earth and mankind (1st of 3)
The five zones of the earth, according to Macrobius
Two angels proclaiming the day of judgement; the Son of Man (Christ) with a sickle (scythe) and a cross; an angel comes out of the temple crying to him to thrust the sickle into the earth and to reap; a second angel, who controls the fire, cries from his altar to the third
angel, who carries a sickle, to thrust his sickle into the earth and gather the vine (2nd of 2)
Map of the world: the people of the earth
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