How far has the earth traveled since May 13, 1954?

Yes, I know we’ve gone around the sun 54 times. I’m looking for linear(?) distance as opposed to orbital distance.

In relation to what? Without that, the question is meaningless.

How about in relation to the location of the point of intersection defined by three extra-galactic markers on May 13, 1954, and the location of a point created by those three markers today?

ETA: Or, what if you used those same three markers to establish a point every hour since May 13, 1954, then added the distance, in order, from point-to-point. What would the total be?

ETA(2): Happy birthday blondebear!

So you mean the circumference of the eclipse?

Which 3? It matters.

149,597,887.5 X 3.14159 X 54 = 25,378,662,258 km.

Relative to microwave background:
600 km/sec X 54 years = 1,022,444,402,400 km.

According to this, as the sun orbits around the home galaxy, it travels at 719,000 km/hr or 447,000 mi/hr. Assuming that the Earth is traveling along with the sun…I will let someone else do the math to calculate how many hours have elapsed since May 13, 1954, and then calculate how many kilometers or miles the sun has traveled around the galaxy since then, because for me the whole exercise is too uncomfortably reminiscent of those story problems they give you in Fourth Grade math, and it was my understanding that once I graduated from high school, I would never, ever have to do those again.

Really? Wow – and I thought I was being clever by locating them outside the galaxy. That is, I would have thought that the relative change in positions of three markers outside of the galaxy would have been so insignificantly small over the past fifty years as to make the choice of which three irrelevant. How/where did I go wrong?

:dubious: Do you have an absolute frame of reference for “meaningfulness”?

I think that the OP is looking for 54 times the circumference of the earth’s orbit (as calculated by Squint’s answer – the ellipse’s eccentricity is probably irrelevant in this case), with just a few significant digits.

25 billion kilometers.
16 billion miles.

Probably using it in some birthday wish.

With respect I don’t think the OP is looking for just that at all. The earth has orbited the sun 54 times, yes, but the sun has also been rotating in the plane of the Milky Way, and the Milky Way has been doing whatever it does into the bargain.

Plus of course, the OP, on the surface of the Earth, has been whirling round and round a distance of about {24,900 x cos(OP’s latitude)} miles every 24 hours.

So would it be a sum of:
Earth’s daily rotation
Earth’s path around the sun
Earth’s wobble
Sun’s movement within the arm of the galaxy
Movement of the galaxy’s arm
Movement of the galaxy as a whole
Expansion of space
Expansion of time
We control the horizontal

He says he’s not looking for orbital distance, which as I understand it, would be 54 times the circumference of the earth’s orbit. I’m sure the OP can look up the figures and do the math him/herself.

The universe doesn’t have a center from which one can measure this distance, right? So the answer will change depending on your frame of reference.

Happy to help.


When it comes to motion, there isn’t one (see Einstein, et al.)

Life is a story problem.

Actually, the specific words I used, “absolute frame of reference”, suggested a rough analogy with relativity: Is there such a thing as “absolute meaninglessness”, or is it “relative”?
IOW, the OP’s question has *some * meaning even without specifying “in relation to what”. The meaning is whatever I can extract from the message, given the info provided.

I agree that “linear(?) distance” suggests something other that the distance around the sun, and that my interpretation was forced. And, I came up with an interpretation of “orbital distance” meaning “distance around the orbit” rather than distance from the Sun to the Earth’s orbit. Yeah, it’s difficult to support that interpretation, but, given some of the questions that I’ve seen in General Questions, it’s possible that the interpretation is right. Not likely, perhaps, but possible.

I Googled “Earth’s speed” and got this from the first hit:

That web page offers the simplistic conclusion that the Sun and the Earth travel 4,269,219,733 miles in one year. The OP could have looked up this figure and multiplied it by 54.

Perhaps he knows that the Sun and Earth orbit the Galaxy’s center and that’s why he said “linear(?)” rather than just “linear”.

Or, perhaps he’s looking for something else.

Yes, but one in which there are no correct or incorrect answers, only “best guesses”.

And you never have to show your work.

Generally, the further something is from us, the faster it’s moving in relation to us. So, picking three relatively close galaxies as markers would give you one number; picking three further away markers would give you a larger number. This is because the universe is expanding.

In fact, this correlation is used (among other things) to determine how far away extra-galactic objects are in the first place. The red shift of light can be measured, and helps determine the distance to the object emitting the light.

Factor in galactic motion (relative to the Cosmic Microwave Background) of roughly 600 km/s toward a mysterious object called the Great Attractor in the direction of constellation Hydra, and you’ll wish that you marked your parking space before you left in the morning. As Q.E.D. notes, there isn’t really a fixed reference point to measure distance from. You could measure pathlength through three dimensions from some arbitrary inertial reference frame, but where that frame is and its relative motion is going to influence the result.

I think mine was written by Joseph Heller.


See post#6.
That’s 1,022,444,402,400 km in 54 years, which buggers the mere 230 billion due to our orbit around the galactic center.