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The True Shape of the Earth

March 31, 2011

We get a truer picture of the shape of the earth from a satellite, called GOCE — for Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer — which has been orbiting the Earth since 2009; from it we have been determining the effect of gravitational forces on the earth.  This data supplies a picture of the actual shape of the earth, which as noted is spheroid but not spherical as so many of us imagine. It is also interesting to note where the gravitational pull is strong compared to where it is weak.  All the ‘why’s’ are something we still do not fully understand… just another of the mysteries of our solar system. What we do know is that these gravity fields play an important part in our weather, oceans and the overall existence of life on planet earth.

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