Earth’s speed puts asteroids to shame; check out how fast it moves in space | Tech News

Earth’s speed puts asteroids to shame; check out how fast it moves in space

Have you ever wondered how fast the Earth moves in space? We tried to find out and the answer is Shocking. Even the large asteroids cannot catch up with the Earth

| Updated on: Aug 22 2022, 10:56 IST
How fast does the Earth move in space? We have tried to find the answer to that question. And surprisingly, it turns out that Earth is so fast even asteroids don’t come close. (Unsplash)

The Earth, like any other celestial body, is in constant motion. In fact, Earth has quite a few motions due to the gravitational forces that act upon it. The Earth spins across its axis, it revolves around the Sun, it moves through the galaxy as a part of the solar system, it also moves through the local group as a part of the Milky way and of course, the local group itself moves through the larger universe carrying the Earth. So, you see, it is not really easy to answer how fast does the Earth move in space? But we have tried to find out how fast the Earth will appear to a space body outside of our local group, in distant space. And the answer is pretty shocking. The tiny pebbles we call asteroids seem like snails compared to our blue-green planet.

But before getting to the answer, it is important to dissect Earth's motion across all the different axes to accurately find out the real speed of the Earth. We have to do this difficult and time-consuming task as we do not have an outsider's perspective to really see how fast the Earth moves. No human or a human-built technology has ever left our galaxy, much less the local group to neutrally observe the speed of Earth. But there is no need to be disheartened. Scientists have observed various parameters and calculated an estimated speed of Earth in space.

How fast does the Earth move in space

Breaking it down, we know the Earth's radius is around 6371 kilometers, and considering Earth completes an entire rotation in 24 hours, its rotational speed is around 1676 km/h or 0.47 km/s near the equator. But it is negligible to how fast the Earth moves around the Sun. Calculations suggest that at its fastest, the speed of Earth around the Sun is 30.29 km/s. It is 60 times faster than its rotational speed. Also an interesting thing to note, is that on average a near Earth Object or NEO asteroid moves at about 25km/s, which the Earth has already beaten. But this is just the beginning of the answer to the question of how fast does the Earth move in space.

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It is estimated that our solar system's speed around the Milky Way is approximately 220 km/s (7 times the speed of Earth around the Sun). The Earth's speed across the galaxy, thus, comes to around 237 km/s. The disparity is due to the fact that the Earth does not move in a straight line through the galaxy but more as spirals around the Sun with both forward and backward motion.

Using the same logic, we can establish that the milky way galaxy is moving at a speed of 109 km/s through the local body. In fact, it is headed straight towards the Andromeda galaxy. The collision, which will result in a galactic merger, taking place in about 4 million years. Similarly, the speed of our local group, Virgo Supercluster, within the universe is calculated at around 300 km/s by tracing microwaves and reading the gravitational pulls of the over dense regions outside of the galaxy.

So, how fast does the Earth move in space? After all the spiral calculations and accounting for backward motions, the cumulative speed of Earth in space comes to 368 km/s, relative to an object outside of the Virgo Supercluster. For reference, this is 12 times the speed of an average asteroid. Now that's fast!

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First Published Date: 16 Mar, 18:11 IST