Miracle. All of it. (This Year on Earth)

In 2018,

  • Earth picked up about 40,000 metric tons of interplanetary material, mostly dust, much of it from comets.
  • Earth lost around 96,250 metric tons of hydrogen and helium, the lightest elements, which escaped to outer space.
  • Roughly 505,000 cubic kilometers of water fell on Earth’s surface as rain, snow, or other types of precipitation.
  • Bristlecone pines, which can live for millennia, each gained perhaps a hundredth of an inch in diameter.
  • Countless mayflies came and went.
  • More than one hundred thirty-six million people were born in 2018, and more than fifty-seven million died.
  • Tidal interactions are very slowly increasing the distance between Earth and the moon, which ended 2018 about 3.8 centimeters further apart than they were at the beginning. As a consequence, Earth is now rotating slightly more slowly; the day is a tiny fraction of a second longer.
  • Earth and the sun are also creeping apart, by around 1.5 centimeters per year. Most of the change is due to changes in the sun’s gravitational pull as it converts some of its mass into energy by nuclear fusion.
  • The entire solar system traveled roughly 7.25 billion kilometers in its orbit about the center of the Milky Way. This vast distance, however, is only about 1/230,000,000th of the entire orbit.
  • There were two lunar eclipses and three partial solar eclipses, each a step in the long gravitational dance making up the roughly 18-year saros cycle. During one saros cycle, eclipses with particular characteristics (partial, total, annular) and a specific Earth–Moon–Sun geometry occur in a predictable sequence; at the end, the whole thing starts again. This pattern has been repeating for much longer than humans have been around to see it.

I like knowing these bits of cosmic context because they link me to a larger world. I can echo the words of Ptolemy: “Mortal as I am, I know that I am born for a day. But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the earth.”

Mary Hrovat, from “This Year on Earth” (3 Quarks Daily, December 24, 2018)

Don’t miss the rest of her essay here: This Year on Earth


Notes:

  • Photo: Phys.org.
  • Related Posts: Miracle. All of it.
  • Inspiration: Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Comments

  1. i love knowing this, too. stunning.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “I know that I am born for day.” Kinda puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The Ptolemy and Einstein quotations would be enough for the day. Placed alongside the information from 208, I feel very small, which is as it should be. “Everything is a miracle.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My wee mind boggles in this immense universe.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. David, I’m trying to re-blog this piece BUT I no longer see the Re-Blog option. Help!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gordon, WordPress can be quirky that way. You must be signed in on WordPress.com to reblog. And you must be on my blog and this specific post. Do you reblog button there now?

      Like

    • And try to go to my blog and this specific post via web at davidkanigan.com. Do you see reblog button down by the like button?

      (and as you can see in the comments below this one, Horty has reblogged a few minutes ago)

      Like

  6. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    It is all a miracle … ‘bits of cosmic context’ … ‘I can echo the words of Ptolemy: “Mortal as I am, I know that I am born for a day. But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the earth.” … ~ Mary Hrovat, from “This Year on Earth”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Key information that I of course knew already ha ha – have a wonderful New year

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on Views from the Edge and commented:
    Live & Learn’s post “Miracle. All of It.” awakens the sense of wonder, starting with changes to planet Earth during 2018 and ending with the earlier wisdom of Ptolomy and Albert Einstein.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So, I read this at 4 a.m. and should not have fallen asleep after. I had vivid dreams of being in outer space on my own. No space ship, no wings. Suspended in the middle of anywhere watching it all.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Thank you, David. I don’t know how the Re-Blog icon reappeared. It’s a miracle!😂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m glad to hear that the moon is looking out for us by slowing us down. We could all use a little bit of that, yes? And, who couldn’t use a fraction of a second more in their day? This is comforting to me. It’s good to know we’re being tended by these forces beyond us, and so beautiful too.

    I’ve just started studying Hellenistic astrology, and so, I really love seeing this bigger picture, David!

    Liked by 3 people

  12. As I read about the distance between the earth and moon increasing by 3.8 cm, I had the same thought as Mary Hrovat – we’re only here for a day. I don’t need to worry about it. I just reread that part and noticed it said 3.8 cm further apart than they were at the beginning. WHEN was the beginning? How could they measure that with such a vague starting point?

    Liked by 3 people

  13. cosmic context – years ago you shared an amazing quoted paragraph (I think written by a women) that spoke also of the miracle of the Universe, it was captivating… as is the mind expanding information above, in your daily offering.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It has all been said, so much more eloquent than I could have formulated it. 🌗🌞🌚🌛🌟
    For this reason it’s great to be the latecomer…..

    Liked by 1 person

  15. My feet not touching the earth…I finally learned that I’m not driving this starship, and left the keys on the kitchen table.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. This definitely qualifies for Miracle. All of it.
    And that Ptolemy quote… Best we enjoy our day.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’ve been a little behind on my WordPress reading over the holidays, David, but thanks to you and this post I am now even more behind! After reading your post, following all of the links it contained, and then Googling several other pieces of information I felt I needed to have as a result, I discovered that if I live to 85 and compare my time on earth to the actual timeline of the earth since it was “born” 4.54 billion years ago, I will have been alive for .59 seconds of Earth’s existence.

    https://biomimicry.net/earths-calendar-year-4-5-billion-years-compressed-into-12-months/

    I found all of this out approximately 3 hours after first reading your post. That’s 3 hours which includes 6 links and 5 related post reads later. Talk about feeling inconsequential! Thanks a lot … I think it’s finally time for me to go, have an early celebratory eggnog, and send birthday wishes to the Earth. Happy New Year to you and your family …

    Liked by 1 person

    • Keith, I was frozen at .59 seconds of the Earth’s existence. Now that’s small and inconsequential. Not sure I’ll ever forget that. Should remind myself of this important factoid when I begin to take anything too seriously. Still shaking my head. Happy New Year to you and your family Keith. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. This is the best and most interesting New Year message I’ve read this year, all of six hours old!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Valerie Meluskey says:

    Oh-h David, I’m still up in…”orbit about the center of the Milky Way. This vast distance, however, is only about 1/230,000,000th of the entire orbit.” Wonder if I’ll ever catch up with the rest of you…. Maybe it’s a good thing that I’m not a geologist, I’m still reflecting on THE SIXTH EXTINCTION, and my favorite documentary is maybe called “The Symphony of the Earth” in which our planet’s various earths are examined–all different ages and stages.
    This all takes me to John Lennon, and
    “Well we all shine on
    Like the moon and the stars and the sun
    Well we all shine on
    Every one, come on”

    Liked by 1 person

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