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Discovery Magazine 8/1/2005

Where Do You Live

Do you know your house number? What about the street where you live? Do you know the name of it? What city or town do you call home? Most likely you could give this information easily to someone who asked for it, along with much more (including the state and country in which you live). It is important to know where you reside. Just think, if you didn’t know where you lived, you couldn’t tell your friends how to get to your house, or where they could mail you a letter.

I remember growing up in Muskogee, Oklahoma on Kingston Street. Even though I haven’t lived in that house for some twenty years, I can still remember the house number-2138. We frequently talk to people about where we live. Friends, teachers, preachers, employers, and many others often ask for our address. Because of how much time we spend at home, and how much time we talk about it to others, the information is ingrained in our minds.

But how often do we talk about the bigger picture of where we live? We regularly chat about living on a particular street of one town in one state in the United States. But how much do we discuss the amazing fact that we live on the third planet from the Sun, which is located in the Milky Way Galaxy? Probably not enough. In fact, it might surprise you to learn that there are many people who don’t even know that Earth is the third planet from the Sun. I recently heard a gentleman being asked to answer a question regarding the identity of the third planet in our solar system. His response: Mars. (Mars actually is the fourth planet from the Sun.)

The planet on which we live, called Earth, is located in what is known as a solar system. A solar system is made up of a group of celestial bodies (such as planets, moons, asteroids, and comets) that orbit a star. Those nine planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus< Neptune, and Pluto. Jupiter is the largest of all of the planets in our solar system, and Pluto is the smallest. Pluto is also the most distant planet from the Sun. It is so far from the Sun, in fact, that it takes nearly 250 Earth years just for it to revolve around the Sun one time.

Earth is the fifth largest planet in our solar system and is located 93 million miles away from the Sun. It travels around the Sun-all 600 million miles-every year. It has done this ever since God created the Sun on day four of Creation. Earth follows the specific path that God made for it. This oval-shaped path was so precisely designed by God that if our planet veered from it just one-tenth of an inch eighteen miles instead of one-ninth of an inch, life could not exist on Earth.

Our solar system has one star in it (the Sun). According to astronomers (scientists who study planets, stars, and other things in space) the galaxy in which we live, called the Milky Way Galaxy, contains billions of stars. In fact, the Sun is only one of an estimated 100 billion stars in our galaxy. The Milky Way Galaxy is so large that if you could pilot a spaceship that traveled the speed of light (186,000 miles per second), it would take you about 100,000 years just to get across it.



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