What Does Earth Look Like? | Summary and Q&A

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November 12, 2013
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Vsauce
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What Does Earth Look Like?

TL;DR

Our eyes only perceive a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, limiting our understanding of what the Earth truly looks like.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What is the limitation of human visual perception?

Human visual perception is limited to the ability to perceive visible light, which represents only a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. We cannot see ultraviolet, infrared, X-rays, gamma rays, and other wavelengths.

Q: How can mobile phone cameras help us see wavelengths we can't perceive?

Mobile phone cameras can detect wavelengths outside of our visible range, such as infrared, by converting them into visible light. By using a mobile phone camera, we can render these normally invisible wavelengths as visible.

Q: Why do different representations of the Earth, like maps, vary in appearance?

Maps of the Earth are subject to biases and distortions because they attempt to project a three-dimensional object onto a two-dimensional surface. Different map projections prioritize certain characteristics, such as preserving shape or maintaining equal area, leading to different distortions.

Q: How much of the Earth's species have been discovered so far?

It is estimated that there may be around 8.5 million species on Earth, but only 1.5 to 2 million species have been discovered. This means that we have only discovered a fraction of the total number of species on our planet.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Our visual perception is based on the human eye's ability to see visible light, but this represents only a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

  • Many objects, such as remote controls, emit or communicate with light wavelengths that are outside of our visible range but can be detected by mobile phone cameras.

  • Different representations of the Earth, such as maps and images, are subject to biases and distortions, and no single view can capture its true appearance.

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