A unique planet. Let’s celebrate Earth. Our beautiful planet.

Why do scientists consider Earth unique even in 2021? Well of course, because it’s the home of so many varieties of life forms and also home to the most complex being we know of to date: humans!

Seriously, there are several important features that make Earth a unique planet.

Let’s go over a few of them.

The Goldilocks zone.
Earth is the third planet from the Sun and, until now, is the only one known to harbor life. Its location in the solar system is strategic because it contains water in liquid form on its surface. Earth is in what is called the Goldilocks zone, meaning not too far from the sun for all the water to freeze solid and not too close that the water would be vaporized.
We believe through radiometric dating that our planet is about 4.5 billion years old.
Earth is the densest and largest solid planet in our solar system. 71% of its surface is covered in water and 29% is covered by land. Scientists tell us that most of the water on Earth came from ice from asteroids and meteors which hit Earth in its early history. Hard to believe, isn’t it?

Oxygen
About 4 billion years ago, a chemical reaction produced complex molecules which mingled together and started to multiply, and life was born. At the beginning, Earth had very little oxygen in its atmosphere. Indeed, the gases present at that time, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane, would be deadly to us today.

Ozone layer
Unicellular organisms evolved into multicellular organisms. Photosynthesis appeared and living cells started to produce oxygen in large quantities. The interaction between oxygen molecules and ultraviolet radiation from the Sun led to the formation of the ozone layer. This protective layer in the atmosphere is extremely important because it protects all life on Earth from damaging radiation from the Sun. That’s why, even if there was enough oxygen on Mars to breathe comfortably, the lack of the protective ozone layer means we would die from radiation exposure.

Electromagnetic field
Earth’s central core is made primarily of liquid iron and a few other metals like nickel. Mars doesn’t have a liquid core but Jupiter and Saturn also have one. The core rotates with the rotation of the planet and produces convection currents and an electromagnetic field. Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn possess this field which extends far out in space like a bubble and protects the planet from deadly ionized particles from the Sun. Those ionized particles, mostly electrons, shine when ionized and produce the Aurora Borealis and Australis.

Tectonic plates
The continents are located on the surface of what are call the tectonic plates. These formations float above the liquid core of the planet and their movements, caused by the convection currents of the central core, produce volcanic activity, earthquakes, and mountain ranges like the Himalayans, the Rocky Mountains, the Andes, etc. There is a constant remodeling of the planet’s surface because of them. As far as we know, no other planet has tectonic plates.

The Moon
Four billion years ago, a massive object the size of planet Mars collided with a young Earth. The collision sent millions of particles in space which bound together and created the Moon. At the time, the Moon was much closer to Earth than it is now, about 80,000 miles instead of 238,000 miles. At the time, it had a magnetic field and shared it with Earth. This enabled the Moon to act as a protective barrier against the solar wind and the young Sun’s powerful radiation. The Moon was critical in Earth’s ability to keep its thin atmosphere and protect emerging life during this vulnerable time.

In 1687, Sir Isaac Newton explained that ocean tides are created by the gravitational pull of the Moon. There are two high tides and two low tides every 24 hours. Apart from the obvious high and low of the water, there is another important consequence to the tides. Life had to develop ways to live in the water and on dry land. This encouraged changes in physiology and the development of lungs in creatures which eventually were able to live on land.

Finally, the Moon is relatively large compared to other moons in our solar system and it helps to stabilize Earth’s axis and acts as a shield against passing asteroids and comets.

Location. Location.
Earth is fortunate to live in a good neighborhood. Our Sun, at 4.6 billion years old, is still young and this is important because this immense furnace will remain stable for a long time. Indded, the Sun still has about 10 billion years to live. The only problem is that we believe its brightness will increase by 10% every billion years and this will eventually destroy all life on Earth. This means our lease will be up in less than 1 billion years!
Space exploration is in infancy, but we must search for Earth-like planets if we want to survive as a species. Until then, life will continue as usual if we take good care of our planet!
Our close neighbor the Moon is good to us and continues to protect us from being hit by asteroids and other space debris. Our biggest neighbor, planet Jupiter, is also a good neighbor because being so large, its gravity attracts a lot of large rocks, asteroids, etc. and it gets hit instead of us. Some think Earth would not have survived without the protective influence of Jupiter.

On Earth day, April 22nd, celebrate and contribute to keep your planet beautiful. Remember Earth is unique and precious. Each one of us needs to be mindful of its fragility and help take care of it because we will never find another one like it.

Enjoy Earth, your own little planet! Live long and thrive!

Cami Michaels

Cami is a retired physician who loves astronomy and science-fiction and fantasy. She published her first novel, a sci-fi romance, I Am Sheffrou, An Alien Love Story, Book 1 of The Sheffrou Trilogy, in July 2020. She is actively working on Book 2, Betrayal, The Color of Treason.

Sources: NASA, NOAA, Wikipedia, and http://www.Inverse.com.

A New Year

Hello my friends,

It’s a New Year but COVID-19 is still with us.
Sadly, we have lost Myrtle Beach’s ex-mayor Mr. John Rhodes to COVID. I would like
to offer my sincere condolences to his family and to all who have lost someone dear.

We must all do our utmost to fight this disease. Until a great number of people get vaccinated, we must continue to wear masks, wash our hands, stay at home as much as possible, and avoid unnecessary trips.

Staying at home is not easy so I have a few suggestions for you.

– Listen to your favorite music or dance with your partner.
– Try something new like Tai-chi or yoga with a Youtube video.
– Bake chocolate chip muffins or your favorite cake. My husband
tried homemade pizza dough and it turned out great.
– Reconnect and chat with old friends on Facetime or Zoom.
– Learn to play a musical instrument with Youtube or a friend.
– Find a good book to read. For example, my sci-fi fantasy novel
“I Am Sheffrou”, pen name Cami Michaels is a unique and
engaging story. Now on sale on Amazon.
https://books.bookfunnel.com/discountfantasyreads/k93vtlfoy6

For my part, I am hard at work on book 2 of the Sheffrou Trilogy.
“Betrayal”, The Color of Treason, a sci-fi fantasy thriller.

I wish you all the best for 2021,
Talk to you soon,

Cami

Happy and Healthy New Year 2021!

Good tidings to all on the eve of this brand new year. To all my friends I wish you the best for 2021. Less worries, less sadness, more joy, more celebration!

To start off the year with a bang, my science-fiction fantasy novel “I Am Sheffrou” is on sale for $0.99 until 01/03/21. This unique and engaging story is not one to miss. You can find it now at https://books.bookfunnel.com/freeand99calienromance/mw06s35wi3

I Am Sheffrou by Cami Michaels

Cyber Monday Deals

Hello my friends,

I hope you are all doing well and staying safe while getting ready for the holidays.

My sci-fi fantasy novel “I Am Sheffrou” pen name Cami Michaels is on sale on Amazon for $0.99 from 12/14 to 12/16. A great gift for family and friends.

Just go to Cyber Monday Deals at: https://books.bookfunnel.com/cybermondaydeals7/y8x706zeho

You can also get a paperback at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08D4VRLVM Buy 3 and get a free tote with a pic of the cover of the novel. To get your bag just send me an email at camimichaelsscifiauthor@gmail.com

Enjoy, Cami.

The Great Conjunction of 2020

Astronomers use the term conjunction when two objects appear to meet in the night sky. The Great conjunction is when the two biggest planets of our solar system, Jupiter, and Saturn, the second biggest with its famous rings, meet and form a “double planet” as seen from Earth. Obviously, this is an optical illusion because the planets remain millions of miles away.

2020 is a special year and this is true also in astronomy. About every 20 years, Jupiter’s orbit around the sun laps over Saturn’s orbit. But, this year, Jupiter and Saturn will appear closest on December 21, which happens to be the winter solstice or the longest night of the year. The last time they were this close and also visible on Earth was 800 years ago. This happened in the medieval times on March 4, 1226.

Jupiter and Saturn will be visible to the naked eye throughout the month of December in the northern hemisphere shortly after sunset, low in the southwestern sky, says NASA. Jupiter is brighter than any star in the night sky. Saturn, even now, is visible as a bright star but slightly dimmer and located to the east (left) of Jupiter.

Interesting Facts about the two planets.

Jupiter.

Jupiter is the fifth planet from the sun and the largest in the solar system. It is currently 778 million km from the sun, the equivalent of or 5.2 times the average distance between Earth and the sun. Jupiter is a gas giant composed mainly of hydrogen and helium with a rocky core of heavier elements. Its radius is 11 times that of Earth. It has 79 moons including 4 moons about the size of Mercury, discovered by the famous astronomer Galileo Galilei in 1610.

Like Earth, Jupiter possesses a magnetic field but it is much bigger and stronger that Earth’s and also produces aurorae. A year on Jupiter is 11.86 Earth years and a day is about 10 hours, the fastest rotation of all the planets in the solar system.

The mighty Jupiter with aurorae visible on the north pole and the Great Red Spot.

Jupiter is easily visible to the naked eye and is the third brightest object in the night sky after the moon and Venus. The outer atmosphere displays several bands at different latitudes producing large storms. One of them is called the Great Red Spot, a giant storm as big as Earth itself. It has existed at least since the 17th century when it was first discovered.

Saturn.

Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun and the second-largest in the solar system after Jupiter. It is located 1.4 billion km from the sun or 9 times the distance between the Earth and the sun. Like Jupiter, it is a gas giant with a radius of about 9 times that of Earth. The Romans named the seventh day of the week Saturday from Saturn.

A day on Saturn lasts 10.7 hours and a year is 29.4 Earth years. Saturn is made mostly of hydrogen and helium with a solid core and has a weak magnetic field. It’s density of 0.689g/cm3 is so low it could float on water.

Saturn is famous for its rings composed mostly of water ice ranging in size from small specks up to 10 meters and it has 82 known moons. The rings extend from 4,120 to 75,000 miles outward from the planet’s equator and are approximately 66 ft in thickness. The other gas giant planets have faint rings but Saturn has the most impressive ones.

Earth seen from below the rings of Saturn.
Saturn and its beautiful rings.

Celestial events such as the great conjunction are important in the history of many civilizations. The great conjunction of 2020 is also known as the “Christmas Star” because of the belief that the “Star of Bethlehem” could have been a planetary conjunction. But, about two thousand years ago, Venus and Jupiter were closest, not Jupiter and Saturn, which is the case of the “Christmas Star” of 2020. This year, the event will be clearly visible in December by looking toward the waxing crescent moon in the western sky, 45 minutes after sunset, according to NASA.

In the science-fiction and fantasy novel, “I Am Sheffrou”, an important celestial event called the Great Eclipse plays a crucial role in the story. The Great Eclipse occurs when the two moons of the fictional planet Chitina, Ara and Kori, align with the orange sun plunging the planet in total darkness for several hours. To find out more, go to “I Am Sheffrou”, An Alien Love Story, available on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo.

Source: Sophie Lewis CBS News, Tim Fitzsimons NBC News, Wikipedia, NASA, and Hubble pics.

Cami Michaels

As a teenager, Cami Michaels dreamed of becoming an astronaut, an anthropologist, and a psychologist. After a successful career as an obstetrician-gynecologist and four children, Cami divides her time between her family and her passion for science-fiction and fantasy. Her first novel, available summer 2020, I Am Sheffrou, is an erotic alien love story, part of a trilogy.

Born in Montreal, Cami Michaels now lives in South Carolina and enjoys writing, traveling to faraway places, and nature photography. If you look closely, you will see her riding her recumbent tricycle around the neighborhood or working in her bee and butterfly friendly garden.