The Earth is an almost perfect sphere with mean radius a = 6370 km, a surface gravity field g = 9.81 ms-2, and a rotation period of TEarth = 24 h, equivalent to an angular velocity Q = 2n/rEarth = 7.27 x 10-5 s-1 (see Table 1.1).

The atmosphere which envelops the Earth is very thin; it fades rapidly away

TABLE l.l. Some parameters of Earth.

Earth's rotation rate

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