By Adam J. Pearson
While you seem to be sitting still here in your chair, things are not only as they seem here in your cozy room. Your chair and desk are seated securely on the surface of planet Earth, which is moving through space along its orbit at an average speed of 107,000 km per hour.
That is roughly 100 times the speed of a moving bullet. Superman was able to exceed the speed of a moving bullet, not only are you moving way faster than even he sometimes did, you are doing it all the time. This fact officially makes you–and everyone else on our planet–faster than superman, even when you are lazily lying around in bed.
[Of course, when Superman was lying around lazily in bed, you and he were moving through space at the same speed. But this fact doesn’t give you many amusing bragging rights, so let’s just leave that case aside for now.
At any rate, speed is always relative to something. You might only be able to run very slowly relative to the position of your house if, say, you indulged in a few too many beers and one too many chimmichangas. But relative to the position of the Sun, you are still moving at an average speed of 107,000 km per hour. All of the time. Moreover, if we want to get into more technical details, you are doing other kinds of motion as well. The Earth is not only circling the Sun at a rapid velocity, but it is also rapidly rotating on its axis.
In addition, the whole solar system is moving through the Milky Way galaxy at an amazing speed of 792,000 km per hour! AND the Milky Way is itself hurtling through space at a mind-blowing speed of 2.1 MILLION km per hour. To compare that with the speed of a bullet at the muzzle of a .357 magnum–about 1645.92 km/h–the whole galaxy is flying through space at 1275.88 times the speed of a a magnum bullet! Fiewf!]
Note: for more detailed information about how these numbers are calculated, see the Astro Society’s excellent article on this subject.