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Map of planetary field is sharpest ever
Earth, The Rotating Potato...GRAVITATIONAL PORTRAIT - Yellow and red represent some of the sharp deviations from the average pull of Earth’s gravitational field, gathered in this new map by the European GOCE satellite.
Rotating potato or insight into the planet’s deepest secrets? This new map of the Earth’s gravity field, gathered by the European GOCE satellite, shows how, in regions such as Iceland and Indonesia, the planet's internal structure creates large gravitational deviations (yellow and red) from the average.
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.