Speed of Life?

You thought of meeting your date in the same place you first met? Well think again, you will never be at the same place ever again.

Firstly, Earth is rotating. You can argue that within a day, your position on the Earth relative to the sun will be the same after about 24 hours (1 day).
Well, then the Earth is orbiting the sun. You can now argue that in a year, the Earth will be at the same position, with respect to the sun.

Well, but the Solar system itself is moving through space. It is orbiting the centre of the Milky Way galaxy at about 828,000 km/h. With some calculations, you might argue that within 250 million years, the Solar System would be in exactly the same position as today, with respect to the centre of the Milky Way galaxy, also known as the Galactic Year, as shown below.

By Milky_Way_2005.jpg: R. Hurt derivative work: Cmglee (Milky_Way_2005.jpg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

R. Hurt derivative work: Cmglee (Milky_Way_2005.jpg) via Wikimedia Commons

Your argument of orbit’s runs out here. There is a region in the universe, called as ‘The Great Attractor’, which has a mass of thousands of times that of our Milky Way galaxy, and because of this, it seems to attract galaxies even millions of light years from it! With respect to the Great Attractor, we are moving towards it at an astounding speed of 2,200,000 km/h! (2.2 million km/h); and never coming back. Not orbiting it, moving towards it. This is about 0.002 times the speed of light! The below image is from NASA, imaging the region where the Great Attractor is located.

The Great Attractor (NASA Hubble image)

I was born in 1987, 27 years ago, from then to 2014, the Earth has moved 520 billion kilometers! My sister and I were born at the same hospital, in a gap of 3.5 years difference. Hence, even though the address of the hospital with respect to the Earth didn’t change, the Earth’s address has itself changed relative to the Great Attractor. The distance between our birth’s has been 67.5 billion kilometers. So close, yet so far! So just to break it down, the Earth moves about 19.2 billion kilometers every year. You can also calculate how far apart in space event’s really occurred.

Metaphorically, we will never get to the same place ever again. Sorry to break your romance.


7 thoughts on “Speed of Life?

  1. How does this great attractor thing work with relation to the big bang theory of universe – coz overall its all expanding right? If it is expanding, how do you/I know that the great attractor is your/my center of existence? Hence, what if I make a particular place my center of existence – can I not be at the same place then?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Center of existence is totally vague. It’s relativity that you need to talk about. All motion is relative to one another. There is no center of existence in the universe. Observations are made with respect to a certain object, in this case, the Great Attractor.

      Expanding universe doesn’t mean that mass is expanding, but the space itself is expanding, between celestial bodies. So in principle, all galaxies are moving away from each other, some moving faster than others.

      In my discussion, I have chosen the Great Attractor as the frame of reference. Since we are not orbiting it, and moving in a straight line, it is not possible to reach the same place ever again, but if you choose Sun as your frame of reference, then yes, in 365 days you get back to the same spot.

      Also, watch the Misconceptions of the Universe:


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