Hello Superman

Are you Superman?
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Way back in 1933 Jerry Siegel created the comic book hero Superman from the planet Krypton. He was faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

You probably can not leap over a tall Lego building and you are far wimpier than a Toyota Prius, but on one count you are Superman's equal. You can outspeed a bullet - even in your sleep.

A bullet leaves a gun barrel at somewhere between 120 and 370 meters per second. That is 430-1330 km/h or 270-830 MPH. Yes, you are faster than this, even without a Bugatti.

The earth does one full rotation in space every 23.93 hours. At the equator this equates to a speed of 465ish meters/second. But you are probably not at the equator. Farther away from the equator you are, the slower is your speed, until you reach the north or south pole where your rotational speed becomes zero.

But wait! We aren't done yet. At the equator the earth's radius is 63,781,370 meters. If you are on the equator on top of a mountain (perhaps Chimborazo in Ecuador, South America) then you are a bit farther from earths center (Chimborazo is actually farther from earths center than is Mt. Everest). The summit of Chimborazo is about 6,384.4 KM from the center of the earth and therefore moving faster than someone down at sea level by a whopping 6 more meters per second.

Futhermore, you are on a planet orbiting the Sun. The Earth orbits the Sun once every year, or more precisely, every 365.25 days. In that time earth will whistle through space 940 million km. That calculates out to about 29,787 meters per second. The Earth's rotation is not quite on the same plane as the orbit, but, generally speaking, at midnight the speed of the rotation is added to the orbital speed, and at midday it is subtracted from the orbital speed. So at midnight you are traveling somewhere in the ballpark of 30,000 m/s. That is a lot faster than any bullet.

And our solar system is orbiting the Milky Way galaxy. Within the galaxy we are traveling at about 250,000 m/sec...and our galaxy is zipping along through the little local group at around 300,000 m/sec.

If, at some point, all of these velocities were able to align in the same direction then you would be traveling at somewhere around 550,500 m/s. All these numbers are making me dizzy. Let's go back to the beginning. A bullet travels at about 120-370 m/s. Superman is faster than a bullet. You travel at several hundred thousand m/s. Ergo, you are Superman.

In case you were wondering, you are traveling at around 1000 X the speed of sound. Light travels at 299,792,458 m/s so you are perhaps moving a bit faster than 1/1000 of the speed of light. Can you feel time bending at these speeds?