Newton showed that, for spherical objects, you can make the simplifying assumption that all of the object's mass is concentrated at the center of the sphere. The following equation expresses the gravitational attraction that two spherical objects have on one another:
F = G * M1 * M2 / R2
- R is the distance separating the two objects.
- G is a constant that is 6.67259x10-11m3/s2 kg.
- M1 and M2 are the two masses that are attracting each other.
- F is the force of attraction between them.
The radius of the Earth is 6,400,000 meters (6,999,125 yards). If you plug all of these values in and solve for M1, you find that the mass of the Earth is 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kilograms (6E+24 kilograms / 1.3E+25 pounds).
1 It is "more proper" to ask about mass rather than weight because weight is a force that requires a gravitational field to determine. You can take a bowling ball and weigh it on the Earth and on the moon. The weight on the moon will be one-sixth that on the Earth, but the amount of mass is the same in both places. To weigh the Earth, we would need to know in which object's gravitational field we want to calculate the weight. The mass of the Earth, on the other hand, is a constant.