Earth, Atmosphere, and Satellites in to the scale!


It was a while that I wanted to see a schematic picture showing the Earth atmosphere compared to the size of Earth and the moon orbit in to the real scale. I’m very happy that I found above picture today in a fantastic coursera course on Astro-Tech. I though maybe other people want to see it too. So I put it here to make it a tiny bit easier to find in the web for those who are interested.

A few interesting points about this picture:

  • Usual satellites don’t go that far from the Earth! The low earth orbit is just a bit far from the Earth surface! ~500km (compare it to ~6,000km, as the average radius of the Earth. It is close!)
  • Normal airplanes fly at the height of only around 10km above the Earth. You can always see the ground if you look out from the plane’s window, if there is no cloud.
  • The International Space Station is located at the height of ~300-400km, very close to the Earth! Notice that until the height of ~10,000km we can still call it atmosphere! Although, the density of air is way smaller than what it is on the Earth.
  • SOHO is located in L1 to observe the Sun and Planck is located in L2 to avoid the Sun shine!
  • Astronomy is cool! To keep the online track of ISS (International Space Station) click here or search for ISS at App Store! You will be amazed!
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