As seen by a supersensitive gravity-detecting satellite, Earth isn’t a pale blue dot. It’s a colorful, irregular lump. Kind of like a tuber.
“Rotating potato — I don’t like this word,” said Roland Pail, a geoscientist at the Technical University of Munich. He and other researchers unveiled the new map of the Earth’s gravity field on March 31 at a scientific workshop in Munich.
Yet a rainbow potato it is. This image represents a sort of theoretical sea level known as the “geoid” — a surface where the ocean would rest if not pushed around by internal currents, tides and the weather.
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.