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108
votes
15answers
30k views

How do I explain to a 6 year old why people on the other side of the Earth don't fall off? [closed]

Today a friend's 6 year old sister asked me the question "why don't people on the other side of the earth fall off?". I tried to explain that the Earth is a huge sphere and there's a special force ...
47
votes
8answers
10k views

Proof that the Earth rotates?

What is the proof, without leaving the Earth, and involving only basic physics, that the earth rotates around its axis? By basic physics I mean the physics that the early physicists must've used to ...
44
votes
2answers
7k views

Was the 2013 meteor over Russia stronger than an atomic bomb?

Reports of the Russian meteor event (2013) say that it released more energy than 20 atomic bombs of the size dropped on Hiroshima, Japan: Scientists estimated the meteor unleashed a force 20 times ...
29
votes
8answers
8k views

Would it matter if the Earth rotated clockwise?

In the Futurama episode "That Darn Katz!" they save the world by rotating the Earth backwards saying it shouldn't matter (which direction Earth rotates). If Earth rotated clockwise and remained in ...
25
votes
11answers
5k views

What is the simplest way to prove the Earth is round?

Assume you've come in contact with a tribe of people cut off from the rest of the world, or you've gone back in time several thousand years, or (more likely) you've got a numbskull cousin. How would ...
25
votes
4answers
4k views

Why is a new moon not the same as a solar eclipse?

Forgive the elementary nature of this question: Because a new moon occurs when the moon is positioned between the earth and sun, doesn't this also mean that somewhere on the Earth, a solar eclipse ...
23
votes
3answers
1k views

Why has Earth's core not become solid?

The Earth is billions of years old, yet its core has not yet cooled down and become solid. Will this happen in the foreseeable future?
20
votes
8answers
31k views

Why doesn't the Moon fall upon Earth?

Why doesn't the Moon, or for that matter anything rotating another larger body, ever fall into the larger body?
20
votes
4answers
4k views

Would you be weightless at the center of the Earth?

If you could travel to the center of the Earth (or any planet), would you be weightless there?
19
votes
2answers
775 views

Are the air particles in today's wind on earth (more or less) the same as the air 2/3 billion years ago?

So the air pressure on earth remains relatively constant, right? Is there air gained or lost through transitions of any sort? e.g. plumes going out into space, earth gaining new air particles with ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

How long until we fall into the Sun?

As a planet moves through the solar system, a bow shock is formed as the solar wind is decelerated by the magnetic field of the planet. Presumably the creation of this shock wave would cause drag on ...
16
votes
4answers
990 views

Does the Moon's core still contain significant heat?

On earth, using earth-sheltering techniques can significantly reduce the temperature fluctuations on a structure. Would the same statement be true as well on the Moon? Does the Moon's core still ...
15
votes
1answer
354 views

How fast is the Earth-Sun distance changing

This is inspired by Evidence that the Solar System is expanding like the Universe?, which referenced an article by G. A. Krasinsky and V. A. Brumberg, "Secular Increase of Astronomical Unit from ...
14
votes
5answers
804 views

Can Helium Disappear from Earth?

Can Helium disappear? As we know Helium is lighter than air, so basically Helium fly off from Earth. Is it possible that in the future we will run out Helium?
14
votes
1answer
313 views

What is the evidence for the super-rotation of Earth's inner core?

What are the geophysical observations that support (or contradict) the hypothesis that the Earth's inner core rotates at a faster rate than the Earth's mantle? Summary of Answers: 1) Studies of ...
13
votes
2answers
508 views

Is the length of the day increasing?

In Frontiers of Astronomy, Fred Hoyle advanced an idea from E.E.R.Holmberg that although the Earth's day was originally much shorter than it is now, and has lengthened owing to tidal friction, that ...
13
votes
3answers
801 views

Do mankind and manmade activities/constructions have any effect on the rotation of the Earth?

We walk or ride on our vehicles to our destinations daily. Does our movement have any effect on the rotation of the earth according to Newton's law? What will be the effect if we move all the peoples ...
12
votes
5answers
3k views

Does Earth have a code name?

Everything we discover in the sky get eventually a code name, like NGC 7293, Simeis 147, etc. Does Earth/Moon have a code name too? Or it is just Earth/Moon, etc.?
12
votes
5answers
7k views

How does gravity work underground?

Would the effect of gravity on me change if I were to dig a very deep hole and stand in it? If so, how would it change? Am I more likely to be pulled downwards, or pulled towards the edges of the ...
12
votes
3answers
866 views

Is the total energy of earth changing with time?

Many years ego, Earth was hot. Over time, it has lost energy and has become colder. Is it now in equilibrium or is its total energy changing?
12
votes
1answer
184 views

Impact location that created the moon

I was reading an article today about the 1000th orbit of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and as many of you know NASA created an animation that simulates the history of the moon. It is speculated ...
12
votes
1answer
226 views

Relationship between Mars and Earth rotation

Is it by pure random chance that Mars and the Earth have nearly the same day duration (Mars day is barely 40 minutes longer, which is just 3% difference), or there is some causal relationship between ...
11
votes
2answers
126 views

What would happen to wet laundry in the vacuum of space?

Imagine for a second that I was in a college dorm room frustrated that all the dryers were broken or in use. I'm impatient and not a jerk so I don't wait or take out someone else's laundry, I shoot it ...
10
votes
1answer
56 views

Why did the june 2011 lunar eclipse last so long?

It was kind of hard to miss the lunar eclipse this week, although I didn't see it in person (Sod's law means that on every relatively major astronomical event clouds cover where I am). From what I ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

What will happen if a gamma-ray burst hits the Earth?

Is there any probability that a gamma-ray burst (GRB) could affect the Earth?
10
votes
1answer
372 views

Mars just collided with Earth! A question of eccentricity

One of the standard theories behind the formation of our Moon is the giant impact hypothesis, according to which Earth was struck by a Mars-sized body (about $10\%$ the mass of Earth) early in its ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

How do we know that earth is not perfect sphere?

I've just read here that: Equatorial radius = 6378.16 kilometers. Polar radius = 6356.78 kilometers, so the difference in circumference is 71.1 kilometers. It is not a perfect sphere, but kind ...
9
votes
2answers
536 views

If the Earth didn't rotate, how would a Foucault pendulum work?

How does the Foucault pendulum work exactly, and would it work at all, if the Earth didn't rotate?
9
votes
1answer
204 views

How much does increased world population contribute to global warming?

In 1974 there where 4 billion people on earth. Now in 2013 we passed 7 billion people. So the world population is nearly doubled in 40 years. Every living human being also haves a body temperature of ...
8
votes
2answers
491 views

Huge buildings affect Earth's rotation?

Does constructing huge buildings affect the rotation of the Earth, similar to skater whose angular rotation increases when her arms are closed comparatively than open?
8
votes
3answers
654 views

How is it that the Earth's atmosphere is not “blown away”?

The Earth moves at a high rate of speed around the Sun, and the solar system is moving quickly around the Milky Way. How is it that the Earth's atmosphere is not “blown away”?
8
votes
1answer
258 views

Could the earth have another moon?

First, to clarify: I'm not asking if perhaps there's a moon that we haven't found yet. The question is, theoretically, would the earth be able to have another stable moon in addition to the current ...
8
votes
4answers
5k views

How long would a lever have to be to move the planet Earth?

Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world. -Archimedes How long would that lever have to be? That is to say, how long a lever ...
8
votes
5answers
348 views

sun-moon-earth anomaly

When one looks at the sun and the moon in the sky together, why is it that the illuminated crescent of the moon does NOT "point" at the sun? (More correctly the perpendicular bisector of the straight ...
8
votes
1answer
348 views

How much does the curvature of space change the volume of Earth by?

If we assume space is flat the volume of Earth is: $$ V = \frac{4 \pi R^3}{3} = \frac{4 \pi (6378.1 km)^3}{3} = 1.086 \times 10^{21} m^3 $$ The Einstein field equations, however, predict that the ...
7
votes
2answers
306 views

Exploding Earth

I have always heard that the Earth, due to its structure, cannot explode. Now, I'm quite fascinated by astronomy physics but I admit I only hold some more than basic knowledge. In any case, even ...
7
votes
3answers
80 views

Are there any Earth-Meteorites on Earth?

A follow-on from this question, if meteorites can come from Mars, it seems they could have come from Earth and ended up back here (though I'm guessing that to be less likely). Do we have any evidence ...
6
votes
6answers
982 views

Escape velocity from long ladder

The escape velocity of earth is roughly $11 kms^{-1}$. However, what if a long ladder was built extending out of Earth's atmosphere and considerably more. Then if something was to climb up at much ...
6
votes
4answers
934 views

If you could ride an elevator through the earth [duplicate]

What if it was possible to ride an elevator straight through earth. If we take all the heat and pressure problems away, and assume it would be possible: What would happen with gravity? Would gravity ...
6
votes
4answers
566 views

How much does the Earth's rotation affect a golf ball?

When launching rockets into space, they start straight but begin to lean, I assume due to the Earth's rotation. For something on a much smaller scale, such as a golf tee, is there a measurable ...
6
votes
3answers
810 views

How long was a day at the creation of earth?

Since the earth is slowing its rotation, and as far as I know, each day is 1 second longer every about 1.5 years, how long was an earth day near the formation of earth (4.5 billion years ago)? I ...
6
votes
2answers
208 views

Why are we not affected by the radiation of the radioactive decay going inside the Earth?

I was reading the question Why has Earth's core not become solid?, and one of the answers says that The core is heated by radioactive decays of Uranium-238, Uranium-235, Thorium-232, and ...
6
votes
4answers
625 views

Why the water remains on the surface of the Earth?

What makes the water stay on the surface? Why the earth does not absorb the water in it?
6
votes
1answer
176 views

Measuring temperature at a distance

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKYrXHZwtPw In this video it is explained that Land Skin Temperature (LST) are measured by NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites. It seems it works by collecting the ...
6
votes
2answers
218 views

Is it possible to use a balloon to float so high in the atmosphere that you can be gravitationally pulled towards a satellite?

A recent joke on the comedy panel show 8 out of 10 cats prompted this question. I'm pretty sure the answer's no, but hopefully someone can surprise me. If you put a person in a balloon, such that ...
6
votes
2answers
133 views

Will I get a shock when I try to use my hair-dryer under water?

Occasionally people get killed in their bathtubs by having an electrical device such as a hair-dryer take the bath with them - in movies. It seems to be a common belief that this is realistic, even ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Does the moon affect the Earth's climate?

So, this morning I was talking to a friend about astronomical observations, and he told me that lately there has only been good weather when there was a full moon in the sky, which was a shame. I ...
6
votes
1answer
155 views

Axial Tilt and precession rate of exoplanets

The Earth's axis is 23.5 degrees away from othogonality to the ecliptic, and it takes about 26 000 years for it to precess fully. I have neither an intuitive sense nor the formula for precession ...
5
votes
4answers
674 views

Why doesn't the Earth leave you as soon as you escape it?

I've always wondered, that since the Earth is moving at a very fast velocity around the Sun, why is it that when astronauts leave the Earth, the Earth doesn't immediately move away from them at ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

What sustains the rotation of earth's core (faster than surface)?

I recently read that the earth's core rotates faster than the surface. Well, firstly, it's easier to digest the concept of planetary bodies, stars, galaxies in rotation and/or orbital motion. But, ...