Hypervelocity Planets

An illustration of human willful ignorance of the vastness of space. This Universe Today piece titled “Can ‘Warp Speed’ Planets Zoom Through Interstellar Space?” Astronomer Avi Loeb:

These warp-speed planets would be some of the fastest objects in our Galaxy. If you lived on one of them, you’d be in for a wild ride from the center of the galaxy to the Universe at large.

Travel agencies advertising journeys on hypervelocity planets might appeal to particularly adventurous individuals.

I appreciate Dr Loeb’s willingness to appeal to the cultural consciousness to get people excited about the discovery of hypervelocity planets. And yet, because of the extreme distances, even a planet zooming along at ten million miles an hour would have a rather boring itinerary on the whole.

Such a planet would traverse our solar system in about a month. However, assuming it was on a beeline for the nearest star system, Alpha Centauri, at two percent of the speed of light, it would still take about two centuries to arrive. For another month-long tour. It would be like spending seven years cruising the high seas for every one day in port. And that’s only if the aim was perfect. Talk about Dorothy Day’s “long loneliness.”


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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