How fast are you moving right now? – Tucker Hiatt
100 Comments


How fast are you moving right now? That seems like an easy question. The first tempting answer is, “I’m not moving.” Upon further reflection, you realize that maybe the Earth’s motion counts. So, a second tempting answer is, “19 miles/second around the Sun.” But then you recall learning that the Sun moves around the center of the Milky Way galaxy, and the Milky Way moves within the Local Group of galaxies, and the Local Group moves within the Virgo Cluster, and the Virgo Cluster moves within… “How fast are you moving?” is not an easy question. When Mission Control tells astronauts how fast they’re going, there’s always an assumed standard of rest. At the start of the voyage, speeds are given relative to the launchpad. But later, when the launchpad is just one more arbritrary place down there on Earth’s spinning surface, speeds are given relative to the idealized, non-spinning pinpoint center of Earth. On their way to the Moon, Apollo astronauts had a hard time answering the question, “How fast are you moving?” Speed away from Earth was one thing, and speed toward the Moon was quite another. That’s because the Earth and the Moon move relative to one another. Ah, of course! Speed is a relative quantity. When Captain Kirk ask Lieutenant Sulu if the Starship Enterprise has reached a speed of warp 7, Sulu should reply, “Relative to what, Captain?” Such a sassy reply may get subordinate Starfleet officers in trouble, but it is the only good answer to the question, “How fast are you moving?” This is basic relatively talking. Not fancy Einsteinian relativity, but good old fashioned (and still correct) Galilean relativity. Galileo seems to have been the first person to realize that there is no such thing as an absolute speed. Speeds are relative. This means that speeds only have meaning when they are referred to a reference frame. Presumably that reference frame is itself at rest. But then we have to ask again, “At rest relative to what?” Because even the concept of rest has lost any hint of absolute meaning. Speed is relative, and rest is relative. Earth’s speed is 19 miles/second relative to the Sun. The Enterprise’s speed is warp 7 relative to the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Your speed is zero relative to your easy chair. But depending on where you sit, it is hundreds of miles/hour relative to Earth’s center. When we furrow a brow and ask, “But how fast is Earth really moving?” we imagine Spaceship Earth plowing through the ocean of space as it orbits the Sun. But space is not an ocean. It has no substance as water does. Space is not a thing; space is nothing. Space is no thing. You can move between two points in space, say between Earth and Mars, but you can’t move through space. There’s nothing to move through. It’s like trying to say how much a hole weighs. A hole weighs exactly nothing because a hole is nothing. It’s a void, and so is space. To move relative to nothing is meaningless. The concepts of speed and of rest have only relative meaning. They are absolutely meaningless. They mean something only with respect to arbitrarily chosen, artificial frames of reference. If, someday, you are buckled into your spaceship, and you see from the side window, say, a space station whizz by at constant speed, there is no way to know which of you is really moving. Neither of you is really moving because there is no deep reality about constant speed. Constant speed in a straight line has only relative meaning, a kind of relative reality. Does this mean that all motion is relative? No! Some motions have only relative meaning, but some motions have absolute meaning, are absolutely real. For example, constant speed is relative, but change in speed is absolute. Calling something absolute in science means that arbitrary standards are not used in its measurement. It is unambiguously measurable. When your spaceship fires its engines, your change in speed is beyond doubt. You feel it in your stomach, and your ship’s sensors can measure it. Outside your window, the passing space station may seem to be changing speed, but the beings inside the station will not feel it. And no sensors can measure it. You are really changing speed, and they are really are not. There’s something absolutely real about changes in speed. The same goes for rotation. If your spaceship is spinning, you can feel it, and your ship’s sensors can measure it. The space station outside may seem to be going around you, but it is you who feels queasy, not the folks in the space station. You are really spinning, and they really are not. There’s something absolutely real about rotation. So, some motions are relative, and some are not. There is no deep reality about constant speed, but changes in speed are deeply real, and so are rotations. We have to be thoughtful in our analysis of everyday experience in order to identify what is deeply real. Since we can be fooled by perceptions as basic as speed, maybe every perception deserves careful scrutiny. This is what inspired Einstein to his incredible insights about the speed of light and forward time travel. Knowing how to identify what is deeply real is tough and important work. If a police officer ever pulls you over for speeding and asks, “Do you know how fast you were going?” an insightful, though perhaps unwise, reply would be, “Relative to what?” And then, as you sit in the backseat of the police car and feel it accelerate toward jail, you can add, “But some things are absolute!”

100 thoughts on “How fast are you moving right now? – Tucker Hiatt

  1. When someone tells you space is nothing

    But then someone else tells you there is dark energy in space

    Impossible.

  2. As earth is moving around sun,sun around milky way and it is around cluster of other galaxy so we are moving faster than light but this is not true because nothing is faster than light and our speed is relative

  3. you are moving through time. Space is full of Cosmic background radiation, light particles, and much others. Childless video.

  4. I was with you till you start calling space nothing you can't move through nothing and you can't leave this planet man yeah I was with you for a minute there but you totally lost me

  5. Space is not nothing. It's an ocean of dark energy creating pressure against everything in the universe so that our electrons don't fly apart. When applying the rule of For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, you have to realize that the resistance you feel when you try to accelerate in space is the action of dark energy running into to you. If there was nothing in space then you would be able to take off in the blink of an eye. Just like when you put a feather in a vacuum sealed tube it falls like a rock. That accurately represents the difference of what space would feel like if you removed all of the dark energy. But you can't without your body exploding. Think about an air bubble underwater. It stays together because of the pressure caused by the water. As soon as it reaches the surface it explodes and disperses. Mass is caused by dark energy all around us. So, no space is not nothing.

  6. Is anybody else annoyed at the fact that at 4:55 the spaceship is spinning the opposite direction that the arrows point?

  7. If we know the distance between point A and point B and we know how long it took us to get from point A to point B surely that's a very accurate way of measuring the speed we traveled on average for the journey 🤔.

  8. That didn't answer the question!!! You CAN measure your speed relative to the cosmic microwave background radiation, and you get an answer of about 390 meters per second. So that's a satisfying and widely accepted answer. You can also measure your speed against the stars and galaxies at the edge of the visible universe which is about 3x the speed of light, and if you really want to feel like you are in a hurry you can measure your speed against the galaxies at the Schwarzschild radius of the visible universe which is about 32 x the speed of light. Or 9.5 billion meters per second. 😁

  9. 1st reaction: That's a meaningless question without specifying a frame of reference.
    Answer: Pick a speed – any speed less than c – and that's how fast I'm moving, relative to some reference frame.
    With one caveat: There is one arguably universal reference frame – the rest frame of the Cosmic Microwave Background.

    Fred

  10. If earth spins 300 miles an hour faster than the speed of sound, so is everything we see in the sky above at night, rotating with at that great speed? The furthest plant out must be really moving then. It’s a lie only a cartoon can explain.

  11. We have all been taught this lie from birth. But now if you want to know the truthhttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqjHW3sIVWspvEw9yRW_Hcw and here alsohttps://www.veritasmc.org/flatearth.html

  12. I got to 2:03 before realising that I don't care enough to keep hearing that it's all relative which I knew already.

  13. So does this mean we are going somewhere as we age or what do a revolution around a something make I wrinkle

  14. NO single experiment has EVER shown the Earth to move, yet at least 4 or 5 have PROVEN it to be stationary.
    See: "How Einstein made the Earth Move" (this is why his debunked theories are presented as "FACT" in the schoolbooks).
    Funny that they never taught us about:
    1) Michaelson-Morely
    2) Airy's Failure
    3) the Sagnac Experiment
    4) Michaelson-Gale
    (there are at least one or two more that I am forgetting)
    Anyhow, ALL of these experiments were done by scientists who were all believers in the Copernican/heliocentric Theory, and we're trying to prove that the Earth DID move. Unfortunately, they all proved a stationary Earth. They also verified the existence of the aeither! Despite that fact, Einstein simply "abolished the aether," (as it didn't "fit" the pseudoscience he was trying to sell to the world) and he then came up with the ludicrous "Theory of Special Relativity." There are far more physicists that agree 100% with the Geocentric model, only very few will publicly admit so, as many have lost their jobs for so much as mentioning the peer-reviewed experiments that I have listed. These experiments are ALL repeatable, and are currently being repeated with modern, and much more accurate equipment.
    Einstein was a brilliant mathematician, but he was not half the genius Nikola Tesla, and a few other little-known physicists and inventors, that will never get a single mention in any American school book.

  15. I love the fact that he assumes : "then WE recall learning that the sun goes around the milky way". I never remember hearing exact phrase in school. It was only that our solar system resides in the milky way and that all of our planets go around the sun. thinking back to earth science in high school, astronomy was touched briefly , we're on planets , some planets have moons yadda yadda. I understand now that yes that makes sense. but his sheer gall that everyone "Knew" this annoys me. Just FYI, YouTube might have visitors both young and old. and the level of comprehension , fluctuates greatly. 0:26

  16. Whats a Void, sounds like an arbitrary relative idea, concept, i think Space is A substantial subtle substance…😀

  17. IDK, the video talks about space as having no substance, but Spacetime, I have heard, has some properties similar to a hyperfluid. Spacetime does impair travel through space and time based in part on mass and speed. I feel like there is more to this.

  18. I discovered that the wall I ran into head first was absolutely speeding towards me relative to the central region of my brainstem and the blood that was spewing at a immeasurable pace from the gaping hole I now had in my head was

  19. 3:40 minds , neither of u r moving because both of u r moving at the same time n there is not a place to be a frame of reference ? Or am I wrong?

  20. Great vid, but when you travel the vacuum of space, I disagree that it is "not a thing", it very much IS a thing, even if it's the vacuum of space. Actually "nothing" is an extremely difficult, if not impossible, concept to grasp.

  21. Maybe re-Title this : "How Many Different Random Equations and Concepts can we arbitrarily jam into One Simple Video : really just click bait disguised as an answer to a simple question using the laws of physics"

  22. This was on the way to me totally embracing it, but it stalled at Relativity. This is fact, though a little misworded. The fact that Relativity is mathematically correct don't make it right when it is the only theory, in light of the fact that IT CHANGES EVERYTHING BEFORE IT WORKS. Put that in your book.

  23. Doesn't light have a constant speed which is used a point of reference to measure the speed of objects in the universe?

  24. c is not relative. It is the same for all frames of reference.
    That's the point of special relativity.
    Space is not void. It's the reason that c is not relative.
    Mass accelerated in spacetime is being accelerated against the spacetime directly ahead of it resulting in resistance (3rd law of motion) that contracts the length of the mass thereby reducing the space of the mass and its activity (time dilation).
    Zero point energy prohibits absolute length contraction and therefore 0 time dilation and is better known in this respect as being the Lorentz factor.
    It is because of the Lorentz factor that mass can neither be accelerated to c nor contracted to the Schwarzschild radius.

  25. If a particle accelerator is moving at the speed of light relative to a fixed observer and it accelerates two particles to the speed of light relative to itself and then collides them, how many physisiscs just facepalmed and said "the speed of light is absolute" without bothering to answer the question?

  26. Relativity is predicated on the notion that our perception conspires against reality, that not one iota of what we observe provides validation of the slightest movement of the earth beneath our feet through the cosmos (acknowledged by Einstein and his contemporaries); but, somehow, an equation applied to what we measure in the real world adjusts for this misperception. Sounds like a grift to me.

  27. On October 14, 2012
    Felix Baumgartner climbed into a capsule built by NASA and reached an altitude of 128,000 feet into the stratosphere over New Mexico, United States, in a helium balloon before free falling in a pressure suit and then parachuting to Earth.
    The launch site was International Air Center, Roswell NM.
    It took Baumgartner "two-and-a-half hours to reach the desired altitude of 128,000 feet.
    He then opened the Hatch, climbed out and jumped.
    Baumgartner landed safely with his parachute in the desert of New Mexico only 55 miles from the launch site.
    Did the Earth stop spinning at 1,000 mph for this special occasion?
    I don't know but, Sum Ting Wong.
    "I have come to believe that the motion of the earth cannot be detected by any optical experiment."
    Albert Einstein
    Kyoto University, Japan Dec. 14, 1922

  28. 当たり前の話やな。しかし落とし穴がある。地球と太陽や。地球と太陽はどっちが動いとるかわからん。だから、地球が止まっとって、太陽が動いとると考えてもええんか?あかんやろ。地球が太陽の回りを回っとるんやないか。

  29. Relative to the center of the universe, which is expanding at an accelerated rate, couldn't we say our speed, or at least that of our supercluster, is the integral of that?

  30. Every particle in the universe is moving exactly at the speed of light.. Some of them moves through time more than space though.

  31. Empty space made of “nothing “ is still something. Even empty space is not “empty”.if there’s nothing to move through there’s no way to progress

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