Have you ever wondered, just how much does the Earth weigh? Astronomers have worked to answer this question, but you need to know the difference between weight and mass first in order to understand how scientists answer this question.
Mass measures how much matter makes up an object. On the other hand, weight measures how much gravity pulls down on the object. Mass stays the same no matter where it is, which means your mass is the same on Earth as it is anywhere else in space. However, since weight measures gravity’s pull, your weight on Earth will be different than other places in space. Since the moon has less gravity, you would weight significantly less on the moon. Knowing the difference between mass and weight is important when trying to answer and understand the question regarding the Earth’s weight.
Therefore, when you are asking how much the Earth weighs, you are asking how many pounds or kilograms it would read if you placed it on a scale on Earth’s surface. Since Earth is floating in space, and it is huge, we cannot place it on a scale. Scientists have gotten around this problem by using math and knowledge of gravity and physics to calculate how much Earth would weigh.
Scientists say that Earth weighs around 6 x 1024 kilograms, or 1.3 x 1025 pounds. The actual size may be just slightly over this.
That’s about 13, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 pounds
This number may seem unbelievable to you, but Earth is also a very large body. Just imagine how small you would look floating next to Earth in space. However, Earth is not even the heaviest planet in our solar system. Jupiter is much heavier than Earth. In fact, Jupiter equals about 318 Earths.
Remember that scientists have calculated these numbers using laws of gravity, because weight measures the pull of gravity on the body being measured. Keep in mind that there is a difference between mass and weight, which is important when talking about measurements in space. Therefore, if you’ve wondered about the weight of the Earth, you will now know that it is measures around, or a littler over, 6 x 1024 kilograms, or 1.3 x 1025 pounds.
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