Meteor Hits Moon

May 18, 2013

IMG_4465A large flash on the Moon was confirmation that a meteor had hit the Moon on May 17th, at 3:50:55 UTC. By my estimate that put my photo of the moon at 8:48:31 PM PDT, just about 2 minutes before the meteor hit the moon. According to NASA a large number of meteors encountered the earths atmosphere about the same time. The Moon has no atmosphere so the meteor that struck the moon did so without encountering atmospheric friction. Here on Earth, most of these meteors simply burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere as they approach the surface, giving us lovely shooting stars. The events are common as there is debris from Comets and from the asteroid belt that drift around and encounter Earth’s space travel. According to NASA, we’re moving about 67,000 miles an hour around the Sun, so any debris in our path that is ‘standing still’ relative to the Sun, as an Earth-relative speed of 67,000 miles an hour. Smash! We ran into it. 🙂

For the curious, this is just one motion the Earth has. Orbiting the Sun at 67,000 miles and hour is fast. But the Sun is actually orbiting the center of our Galaxy as well. So since we’re orbiting the Sun, and the Sun is moving around the Galaxy, we’re actually moving at about 558,311 miles an hour, give or take. That’s fast.

But earthlings are moving even faster relative to a theoretical ‘fixed position’ in space. The Galaxy is moving too. Our galaxy is moving through the universe at 1.34 million miles an hour and we’re part of that. It would be interesting to know what part of these speed vectors add or subtract from our overall speed. But even if we subtracted 100% of both the Sun and the Earth’s orbital velocity from the Galaxy’s movement through the universe, we’d still be moving at over 600,000 miles an hour.

Coming back from an inter-galactic voyage would require some planning to return to the right place. 🙂

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