What is earth and space

Wolfgang Gerber

Cosmic influences shape earthly processes

As one of eight planets, the earth orbits the sun, our central star. As part of the solar system, the earth has not developed in isolation from events in near and far space in the last 4.5 billion years, because many earthly processes are shaped by cosmic influences. For example, without the sun and the complete position of the earth in the habitable zone, there would be no life. Thus it was only because of these influencing factors that the earth, as the only planet in the solar system, was able to produce intelligent life. The article presents the earth as part of the solar system and takes up the cosmic influences.

We live on an inconspicuous planet in space, which moves together with the planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune as well as many smaller natural bodies around a central star, the sun. All of these bodies make up the solar system. Because of their very large mass, the sun keeps these celestial bodies in their orbits. But it is a rather smaller star, a gas body that shines itself due to nuclear fusion. Compared to the earth, however, the sun is enormous: it could accommodate 1.3 million globes and it is 333,000 times heavier than the earth.
Even the dimensions of the solar system seem enormous to us. Space probes that launched from Earth in the 1970s to leave our solar system have only reached the edge of the solar system in recent years. This margin is difficult to express in terms of distance. It is located where the sun's gravitational force hardly has any effect.
Our solar system, in turn, is only a tiny part of the Milky Way, the galaxy (see Fig. 1). Several hundred billion stars are believed to be in it. Besides our galaxy there are probably an infinite number of such star systems. Most scientists assume an infinite universe that expands and thus constantly increases space. Quite a few scientists suspect that, in addition to our universe, there are other so-called parallel universes.
Advances in astronomy bring new knowledge
Man can only see an extremely small part of the universe. This part is called the metagalaxis. With the improvement of observation technology, the view goes deeper and deeper into space, and the metagalaxy is growing ever larger. Two revolutions in astronomy contributed significantly to this increase in knowledge: the invention of the telescope and the beginning of space travel.
At the beginning of the 17th century, Galileo Galilei (1564 - 1642) was the first person to point his telescope at the sky. With the first telescopic observations he was able to confirm the new heliocentric worldview of Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 - 1543).
The first astronomical research satellites, with which astronomy of all wavelengths began, brought an enormous increase in knowledge in the 20th century. For centuries it was only possible to observe in the optical range of the electromagnetic spectrum - since the middle of the 20th century also in the radio range - space travel opened up the entire range of observation possibilities in the second half of the 20th century.
Since then, observations outside the Earth's atmosphere have complemented terrestrial astronomical research. The recordings of the Hubble space telescope alone helped the astronomers and astrophysicists to expand their knowledge enormously.
Earth movements in space
The movements of the earth in space (rotation and revolution) and their consequences are dealt with relatively extensively in the lessons (see Tab. 1).
The rotation of the earth around its own imaginary axis takes 23 hours 56 minutes 4.19 seconds - one day. The consequences of the turn from west to east are day and night as well as ...