|Kawasaki ZX-14 Ninja|
On Saturday 30 June, 2012 Jorma Karjalainen broke the European speed record by riding a modified Kawasaki ZX-14 motorcycle at the speed of 420 km/h on the tarmac of Joensuu airport, Finland (youTube).
For us regular mortals it is so nice just to sit and watch when a daring human risks his life for such a record or when someone speeds on a truly deadly nitro bike. But we only think that we are sitting still on the bench as sensory systems tell us when we are, in fact, moving very fast indeed.
Humanity has until very recently assumed that Earth is still while Sun and Moon and Stars move on the firmament above it as also the Bible tells us. Our senses gracefully hide from us that actually we are flying at dizzying speed in the space. In daily life we do not really need that knowledge and need for basic orientation that (false) feeling of sitting or standing still in one place.
Scientists have been using special instruments and making calculations to figure out what the light from space can tell us also about our absolute movements and speeds in the Universe.
Earth rotates around its axis giving us our familiar 24 hour Day. This corresponds to equatorial speed of 1,674.4 km/h.
- So while we are standing still and all is calm we are still moving at the whopping speed of over one thousand and six hundred kilometres in an hour.
But this is not all. The fast rotating Earth has another movement and travels on its orbit around the Sun giving us our familiar 12 months Year. It has been calculated that this corresponds to the speed of 107,300 km/h.
- So while we are standing still and all is calm we are still flying around the Sun at the whopping speed of one hundred thousand kilometres in an hour.
But this is not all. Our Solar system is located in one of the spiral arms of the Milky Way. The entire galaxy is spinning around its centre once in 225 million years giving us the not so familiar galactic year. Calculations suggest that the galaxy - and our Solar system in it - are spinning at the speed of 792,000 km/h.
- So while we are standing still and all is calm we are still moving around the centre of Milky Way at the whopping speed of seven hundred and ninety two kilometres in an hour.
But this is not all. Milky Way and the Local group to which it belongs is also moving in the space. Astronomers have estimated from the Cosmic Background Radiation CBR that our galaxy is flying away from the point of origins (Big Bang) at the speed of 2.1 million km/h.
- So while we are standing still and all is calm we are still flying in the space at the whopping speed of two million one hundred thousand kilometres in hour.And that speed is accelerating.
There is that cosmic speed limit, though - the speed of light 10 trillion km/hr
The problem is, as Albert Einstein explained, that when an object approaches that speed time itself changes. So it is an entirely new ball game at those limits depending who and where is measuring the speed.