Some Easter Musings

As I sit here, the ground beneath me is moving at 1,000 miles per hour – spinning.

When I look out the window, to the sun, I know I’m really moving at 67,000 mph around that big ball of hydrogen that keeps fusing.

In the night sky, the dense belt of stars that make up our galaxy, the Milky Way, I know I’m really moving through space, orbiting the massive black hole at the center, at 560,000 mph.

It takes over 200 million years for our little solar system to orbit that big black hole at the center.

In about one-third of an orbit of our galaxy, the dinosaurs all died. In only 1/40th of an orbit ago, the human evolutionary tree split from the chimpanzee.

If I could travel at the speed of light (286,000 miles per second), it would take me 25,000 years to reach that black hole at the center of our galaxy.

Looking beyond just our Milky Way galaxy, into space that is all galaxies, I realize that as I sit here, I’m really moving through space at 1,340,000 miles per hour, as our galaxy careens through the void between galaxies – hurtling outward.

Our galaxy looks to be on a collision course with the Andromeda galaxy, which is about twice as large. Only about 3 billion years away.

We’ve already collided with other galaxies before – and are still in the process of a collision with a dwarf galaxy.

As a whole, all galaxies are expanding further away from each other. And strangely, they are not slowing, but accelerating faster away from each other.

We are beginning to see what might have existed before the Big Bang through M-theory.

Einstein revolutionized our understanding of the universe – much of it is verified. But his work does not explain the subatomic world, which is the realm of quantum mechanics. Much of quantum mechanics is verified. But the two disciplines are at odds.

M-theory unites them. It came from string theory, where all fundamental matter is comprised of vibrating strings. But string theory had 5 different methods of solving it. With the integration of the concept of 11-dimensional supergravity, M-theory was born.

In it, the Big Bang can be easily explained by a collision of the branes of parallel universes. This is mathematically based. But M-theory is currently very hard to validate experimentally.

Electrons exist in a cloud around an atom’s nucleus. When you give more energy to an atom, the electrons disappear and reappear at a higher energy level, without travelling between them.

When you measure the energy of an electron, the electron exists in all possible positions around the nucleus simultaneously. When you locate the exact position of an electron, you cannot tell how much energy it has.

An electron does not orbit its nucleus like the moon orbits the Earth. The moon would exist in all possible places, like a wave around the earth, until we observed where it was.

This is the basis for yet another theory of multiple universes, where all possibilities actually occur.

The moon is 239,000 miles from Earth. Driving there in my Toyota at 70 mph would take me around 5 months – 142 days (with no potty breaks or sleepovers).

If I were instead wanting to holidy someplace warm, like the sun, it would take me 152 years to get there!

Hmm. Maybe I should take a flight – like on those Boeing 757’s. In one of those, it would only take me 19 years to reach the sun.

If I were to drive around the circumference of the entire earth, it would take me about 15 days. On the sun, for the same sightseeing, it would take me 4.5 years.

The surface of the sun would be a cool 10,000 degrees, which would certainly melt the metal in my car. But that would have happened as I approached, because the corona, which is far away from the surface of the sun, is actually hotter – a couple million degrees. Inside the core, around 27 million degrees.

If I didn’t burn up, I’d probably at least crumle into a blob, because i’d weigh over 5,000 pounds.

If a single hydrogen atom were the size of Earth, the nucleus would be the size of a basketball at the earth’s core, and the closest the electron could be is somewhere in earth’s atmosphere.

The sun burns hydrogen atoms at the rate of 1,200,000,000,000 pounds of it per second – converting it into helium.

In about 5 billion years – a few billion years after we’ve collided with the Andromeda galaxy, the sun will run out of hydrogen, and start burning the helium it’s been making. At this point, it will expand and envelop the Earth.

Recently, we directly detected the first light emitted by planets outside our solar system. Oxygen was detected on another planet. But each of these are pretty hot. 😉

The nearest star to us is Alpha Centauri – 25 trillion miles. At the speed of light it would take over 4 years to reach it. Alpha Centauri is actually a system of 3 stars – Proxima Centauri being the smallest, and closest to us.

As we travel near the speed of light, time slows and mass increases – making it seemingly impossible to surpass.

Quantum particles seem to communicate information faster than the speed of light (superluminal).

Music has already been transmitted at least 5 times faster than the speed of light.

This opens up problems – such as arriving somewhere before you’ve left.

Multiple universes seem to handle all kinds of problems like this. But the overhead of such a thing just seems staggeringly complex to me right now.