Friday, March 14, 2008

how fast are we moving in the universe?

the earth rotates on its axis at about 1000 mph; we rotate along with it. speed is highest at the equator.

67000 mph: the earth circles the sun once a year as it completes the 587-million -mile orbit.

500,000 mph: the milky way galaxy rotates around its center, and we move with it.

1,300,000 mph: our cluster of galaxies is speeding toward the great attractor, a super-cluster that lies in the direction of the centaurus constellation.

we're in constant motion on earth; first the earth is rotating on its axis. your velocity in this respect depends on your location. at the equator, your tangential velocity is slightly over 1000 mph, but that reduces as you move north or south, and at the exact poles you would simply rotate in place. in addition to that movement, the earth revolves around the sun at 67,000 mph.

our solar system sits in an arm of the milky way galaxy, which makes one revolution every 225 million years. that rotation shoots us along at a speed of about 500,000 mph. within our local cluster of galaxies, the milky way is hurling toward the andromeda galaxy at a speed of about 290,000 mph - on course for a collision in a few billion years.

we're also being drawn at a rate of about 1,300,000 mph toward an enormous supercluster, the great attractor, which lies about 250 million light-years away. and finally, we're expanding along with the universe. but since this amounts to space itself growing larger, it's not motion in the ordinary sense of the word.

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