The Earth's Circumference

The Earth's Circumference


The Earth's equatorial circumference (40,075 km) is greater than its polar circumference (40,008 km).


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Earth, the third planet from the sun, is the fifth largest planet in the solar system; only the gas giants Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are bigger. Earth is the largest of the terrestrial planets of the inner solar system, bigger than Mercury, Venus, and Mars. But how big is the Earth, exactly?

The radius of Earth at the equator is 3,963 miles (6,378 kilometers), according to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. However, Earth is not quite a sphere. The planet's rotation causes it to bulge at the equator. Earth's polar radius is 3,950 miles (6,356 km) — a difference of 13 miles (22 km).

Using those measurements, the equatorial circumference of Earth is about 24,901 miles (40,075 km). However, from pole-to-pole — the meridional circumference — Earth is only 24,860 miles (40,008 km) around. This shape, caused by the flattening at the poles, is called an oblate spheroid.


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