Please put your desk chairs in the full upright and locked position. We’re not expecting any turbulence, but as we sit we are moving at an astronomical speed… literally. You and I are little blobs of stuff (and no, I’m not calling you fat) stuck like bubble gum to the side of earth. It feels like we’re sitting still, but that is so ridiculously far from the truth.
1 600 km/h – Once per day our planet completes a full rotation, creating the illusion of the sun setting and rising. If you were standing still at the equator, you would actually be moving at 1600 kilometers per hour! We don’t feel this movement because it’s so smooth and consistent.
107 000 km/h – Every year the earth completes a full trip in orbit around the sun. In order to stay on schedule it requires a speed of 107 thousand kilometers per hour. This also means you’re personally moving faster at night, when you are on the outside of the orbit and the earth rotation is in (more or less) the same direction as the solar orbit. Conversely, you’d be going a bit slower during the day… like running towards the back of a moving train.
70 000 km/h – This gets a bit mind-boggling now, but our sun is not sitting still either. The numbers get harder to calculate because there is no sign-post to measure our speed against. Relative to other stars in the “neighbourhood” of the milky way galaxy, our sun and solar system is slowly milling about at 70 thousand clicks.
792 000 km/h – Like the earth going around the sun every year, the sun has a “galactic year” that is 225 million earth-years long. We are located near the outside edge of the milky way galaxy that spins like a pinwheel. Every 225 million years our little patch of space makes one trip around. The speed of that trip clocks at 792 thousand km/h.
If all those motions were ever to line up and be working in the same direction we’d be trucking along at near 1 million km/h when sitting still! But hold on to your hats, folks… there’s one more thing to consider…
2 100 000 km/h – Our pretty little galaxy is moving too. Perhaps you’ve heard that the universe is expanding, well, apparently we’re caught up in a current moving at over 2 million km/h. This is calculated by comparing our movement to the “cosmic background radiation”, which is the most steady, constant thing found in the universe.
This, I believe, is the number one reason not to run at a swimming pool because really it’s not adding much to your speed in the big picture.