Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Galaxy Spins At Mind-Bending Speed

Not only that, but our solar system moves pretty fast, as well. I don’t know what the surface speed might be, but one trip around the galaxy is on the order of 225 million years. We orbit the sun at a speed of 66,780 mph and spin (depending on whether you are at the Equator or around where we live) at 1,000 or 700-900 mph.

Aren’t you glad our atmosphere goes at the same rate? Imagine trying to live where the wind is between 700-1,000 mph all the time. So when there is little or no breeze here, it’s really going about 800 mph, just keeping up with Earth’s spin.

Then we’ve got galaxies, a few hundred billion stars (and, presumably, planets) moving away at a good percentage of the speed of light. Yet, they seem unchanging to us – such is the immensity of space. Sure, we will eventually notice they have changed their position in the sky, but “we” may be astronomers of a different generation.

Eventually, all the galaxies will fly so far away we will have no idea there are others out there than ours. I wonder what our theology will be like then? Perhaps we came along at just the right time, so we can know about galaxies, the Big Bang origin of the universe. If we came along a trillion years later, we’d think we were all alone in our lonely galaxy.

Most of us believe there will be an end-time, an end of the world. How and when is beyond our knowledge. Maybe a giant asteroid, perhaps a particle collider gone wild, or just Jesus pulling the sky apart and entering the universe. Stay tuned.


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