The Physics of the Universe - Difficult Topics Made Understandable
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How fast are we traveling through space?

A person on the equator is rotating around the Earth at about 1,660 kilometers per hour. A person at the north or south pole actually has a rotational speed of zero, and is effectively turning on the spot. Somewhere in between, a person’s rotational speed decreases as they move from the equator towards the pole: for example, a person in Toronto, at around 45°N, is traveling about 1,230 kilometers per hour.

Actually, rotational speed around the Earth is also dependent on altitude above sea level, and a person at the top of a mountain on the Equator is actually traveling faster than 1,660 kilometers per hour (as he has further to go with each revolution). Taking this to an extreme, an object in geostationary orbit around the Earth at an altitude of about 36,000 kilometers above the ground has to travel at about 11,000 kilometers per hour.

But that is not all. The Earth circles around the Sun at about 107,000 kilometers per hour. Our Solar System is rotating around the Milky Way galaxy at about 700,000 kilometers per hour. The galaxy is also traveling at huge speed away from every other galaxy as the universe continues to expand, although with vastly differing relative speeds depending on the distances of the galaxies from us. To give some indication, scientists have calculated that our galaxy is traveling at about 2.2 million kilometers per hour relative to the cosmic background radiation which pervades the universe.

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