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Part of Hall of Planet Earth.
The half globe above shows a changing image of the Earth as seen from space. As the Earth rotates, clouds are removed to reveal its oceans and continents. Then the land is stripped of vegetation, and water is drained from the oceans, exposing deeper and deeper levels of the ocean floor. Finally, the bare Earth, without atmosphere and water, appears.
The Earth is constantly changing, reworking itself into new and complex forms. Clouds materialize and melt away; wind and water carve the land into new shapes; and the slow churnings of the Earth’s interior keep the continents in motion and create new oceans and mountains. The interactions of the atmosphere, ocean, and solid Earth make the planet dynamic and have shaped its evolution. This hall is about how the Earth works.
Earth images for the hemisphere come from the following sources:
Oceans and Continents
A simulated view constructed with data from the polar orbiting National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA-11 Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer Satellite. The data were collected mostly in June and July 1992.
Earth with Clouds
A simulated view of the clouds as seen on September 13, 1996. The data are from a U.S. Air Force weather satellite.
The view of the ocean floor between 72 North and 72 South latitudes is based on shipboard depth soundings combined with variations of the Earth’s gravity as measured by satellite. The polar data are based on ship and airborne surveys. The view of land stripped of vegetation was constructed from soil maps.