Saturday, January 1, 2011

F-Troop vs The Universe

Chief Wild Eagle of the Hekawi tribe, doing the whole Mr. Spock/Stephen Colbert one-eyebrow-raised thing

A question for Astronomers, but to set it up, my favorite joke from the old American TV Series: F-Troop , regarding the origin of the Hekawi American Indian tribe:

Chief Wild Eagle: [when asked how the Hekawi got their name] Many moons ago tribe move west because Pilgrims ruin neighborhood. Tribe travel west, over country and mountains and wild streams, then come big day... whole tribe fall over cliff ! That when Hekawi get name. Medicine man say to my ancestor, "I think we lost. Where the heck are we?"

Thanks, Chief! So ...


In how many different directions are we moving, if seated perfectly still?

And if it’s not too much trouble, I'd like to have velocities and vectors, including a cool final one.

So far I have:

- Rotation around the earth
- Lunar effects
- Planetary effects, mainly Jupiter’s (should we ignore the others, for all practical purposes?)
- Rotation around the Sun
- Our solar system’s bobbing up and down perpendicular to The Milky Way’s plane (once every 60 million years, I believe)
- Sol’s rotation around The Milky Way
- The Milky Way’s mutual attraction to the Andromeda galaxy in our Local Group (should we ignore the LG’s other galaxies, for all practical purposes?)
- Our Local Group’s attraction to the Virgo Cluster
- the Virgo Cluster’s attraction to the Virgo Supercluster
- The Virgo Supercluster’s attraction to The Great Attractor
- Whatever the heck The Great Attractor is attracted to
- The expansion of space

I've asked Phil Plait this question in response to his New Year's post. We'll see how he answers. In the meantime, Happy New Year to One and All !

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