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How Old is Earth

Updated on May 8, 2015
How old is Earth
How old is Earth

What is Earth's Age?

The short answer - 4.54 Billion years. Expect this number to remain roughly the same for the remainder of our relatively short lifetime. Planet earth is the third planet closest to the Sun in this solar system, sitting at the edge of the Milky Way galaxy. The naming of the Milky Way comes from its appearance as a dim, milky color across the evening sky. This is a spiral galaxy, rotating around a central core.

How old is the Solar System?

Our solar system within the Milky Way galaxy is approximately 4.6 billion years old - as currently estimated by scientists, based on a study of meteorites. The solar system containing earth formed by the gravitational collapse of a molecular cloud, based on theory. A molecular cloud, also known as a stellar nursery, is a type of interstellar cloud, capable of forming into a variety of space objects, such as a star or solar system such as our own.

What is contained within our solar system?

Our solar system contains a Sun, eight planets (no more pluto!) and a series of interstellar noise, including a large asteroid belt and other smaller objects. At the center of the solar system sits the sun, with the gravitational attraction necessary to hold all other objects within this system in orbit. The planets, from closest to furthest from the sun are as follows:

  • Mercury
  • Venus
  • Earth
  • Mars
  • Jupiter
  • Saturn
  • Uranus
  • Neptune

Sitting in between Mars and Jupiter lies the asteroid belt, theorized to have once been a planet named Phaeton, which erupted thousands of years ago, though there are other theories out there.

Milky Way Galaxy
Milky Way Galaxy

How old is the Milky Way?

The Milky Way galaxy is theorized to be 13.2 billion years in age, roughly three times as old as our planet and solar system. It is estimated to have formed shortly after the creation of the universe, hypothesized to be the big bang.

What is contained in the Milky Way?

The Milky Way galaxy contains over 300 billion stars. and at least 100 billion planets. Many of these stars are capable of holding around them, a solar system much like our own. To put that in perspective, there can be approximately 10 billion brothers to our planet in this galaxy alone.

This galaxy contains stars, solar systems, planets and space clouds. At the core of the galaxy sits the highest concentration of stars. At about 40,000 light years from the center, the concentration of stars significantly drops with distance, until we hit our location - at the very edge of the galaxy.

Horsehead Nebula - The Universe
Horsehead Nebula - The Universe

How old is the Universe?

The Universe is theorized to be 13.82 billion years old, as estimated by one of our spacecraft post 2000. This says that our galaxy, and potentially all galaxies have formed around the time of the creation of the Universe.

As we expand further and further from home, our estimations become more and more difficult to predict. The creation of the Universe is still a widely debated topic, crossing fields from astronomy to religion and philosophy. One new theory - biocentrism - proposes the idea that it is consciousness which has created the Universe in the first place. The same consciousness that is ourselves, leading some to believe we are all as old as the Universe.

What is contained within the Universe?

The Universe contains millions upon millions of galaxies, each unique in size, dimension, location and make-up. There are also vast amounts of cosmic energy - nebulas, clouds, and other forms of space debris. There is truly a lot out there, and much left to be explored by us. A unique concept of our Universe is that it is constantly expanding - that is more and more space is created on a consistent basis. It seems this Universe does not have an edge!

Hopefully you've gained some perspective on the age of our planet relative to the Universe, and the exact location of our daily existence in relation to all that is out there. Hopefully this article has answered some questions, but I'm sure it has drummed up some more.

Looking to learn more? Check out the below video from Professor Michio Kaku, one who is at the cutting edge of science. Michio Kaku has given talks not only on the Universe, but the future of health and science in an intriguing way, backed by the latest scientific theories which baffle the mind.

If given the opportunity, would you ever travel to outer space?

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