- The Milky Way Galaxy, including our solar system, is constantly in motion within the universe.
- Our sun travels at an astonishing speed of 792,000 km/h as it revolves around the galactic center.
- The Milky Way Galaxy completes a revolution around its center roughly every 225 million years, called a Galactic year.
- Astronomers measure this motion relative to the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation, a remnant of the Big Bang.
- The Milky Way Galaxy is moving at a remarkable speed of 2.1 million km/h towards the Great Attractor, located in the constellations of Virgo and Leo.
Nothing in the cosmos remains still. As you read this, the Earth spins on its axis, orbits the Sun at about 1700 km/h, while the Sun hurtles through space at 792,000 km/h around the galactic center. Even more astonishingly, our entire universe is racing at an incredible 2.1 million kilometers per hour.
Every celestial body, from planets to stars, is in constant motion. Earth, for instance, must travel at 30 km/s to maintain a stable orbit around the Sun. The Sun itself, despite its central role in our solar system, is hurtling through space at an extraordinary pace.
Zoom out further, and you’ll discover that even our immense Milky Way galaxy is on the move. Stars, planets, gas clouds, black holes, and even the mysterious dark matter within it are all in motion.
The Milky Way, like Earth’s orbit around the Sun, follows an elliptical path as it revolves around the galactic center, situated roughly 2500 light-years away. It completes one such revolution every 225 million years, known as a Galactic year. Since the formation of the Sun and Earth, approximately 20 Galactic years have passed, signifying our completion of 20 orbits around the galactic center.
To achieve this, the Sun, along with Earth and the entire solar system, must travel at a staggering 792,000 km/h. To put this in perspective, light travels at an even more astonishing speed of 1.09 billion km/h.
Yet, not only do celestial bodies within our solar system move through space, but the entire galaxy also journeys through the cosmos, influenced by the gravitational forces of other massive objects.
Our Milky Way is presently being propelled by other massive galaxies and clusters in the surrounding universe, converging toward a specific point known as the Great Attractor.
However, one might wonder, what serves as a reference for calculating our galaxy’s motion through the universe? Astronomers have long pondered this question since galaxies themselves are also in motion.
To solve this puzzle, astronomers turn to the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CBR) and the Big Bang theory. According to NASA, the CBR represents the remnant heat from the Big Bang, providing a universal frame of reference against which we can measure and calculate our motion.
To determine our velocity through the universe, astronomers must subtract Earth’s motion around the Sun and the Sun’s motion around the Milky Way’s center from the motion measured relative to the Cosmic Microwave Background (CBR).
This calculation reveals that the Milky Way Galaxy is hurtling through space at an astonishing 2.1 million km/h in the direction of the constellations Virgo and Leo, precisely where the enigmatic Great Attractor is located.