Skip to comments.Completing the Cosmic Course
Posted on 01/01/2009 11:10:31 AM PST by CE2949BB
[The following is an exact transcript of this podcast.]
Happy New Year! And dont feel bad about taking today off. After all, youve traveled far. And Im not talking about the trip home from the party last night. According to NASA, just by being on the planet Earth in the last year, youve zipped about 584 million miles around the sun to get back where you were. At an average speed of about 67,000 miles per hour. Again, not talking about the drive home last night.
Of course, the trip was not a perfect circle. As Kepler showed, the Earths orbit is an ellipse, with the sun at one of the two focal points. He also figured out the planet goes faster when its at perihelion, nearer the sun, than when its at aphelion, its farthest distancewhich would explain why summer seems to zip by, except the seasons are a function of the tilt of the Earths axis, not its different distances from the sun. And the Earth rotated 365 and a quarter times during its sweep around the sun. The trip took 8,766 hours. Or 31,557,600 seconds. Or 525,960 minutes just like this one.
60-Second Science is a daily podcast.
“According to NASA, just by being on the planet Earth in the last year, youve zipped about 584 million miles around the sun to get back where you were.”
You can’t be back where you were since the Sun is also orbiting the center of the Milky Way galaxy. (Isn’t that right?)
Everything is relative.