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Q: A list of extremely fast moving things (between sound and light) ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Subject: A list of extremely fast moving things (between sound and light)
Category: Science > Earth Sciences
Asked by: crythias-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 29 Jul 2004 18:40 PDT
Expires: 28 Aug 2004 18:40 PDT
Question ID: 381083
Please provide a range of about 10-15 things, with their speeds that
move with a speed between sound and light.

I'll accept a few Mach-x SST's, but I'm more interested to know some
actual things that move around 0.5c or faster, or some that move in a
much significantly-faster-than Mach 5 speed.

It would help if the items aren't heavily on one side or the other of
the spectrum. I don't want Migs, F15s, the Concorde, etc. to occupy
all the list, and I'm not interested to have light spectrums occupy
the other side :).

If 10-15 is too much, I'll accept any reasonable list as long as the
range is well represented.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 29 Jul 2004 19:50 PDT
A number of things out there in the cosmos -- quasars, galaxies, and
the like -- are moving away from the earth at sizable fractions (10%,
50%, 90%, etc) of the speed of light.  Would a list of specific
quasars and other objects -- along with their speeds -- meet your

Or perhaps you are looking for more diversity than that.

Let us know.


Clarification of Question by crythias-ga on 29 Jul 2004 21:28 PDT
Well, both astronomical and microscopic things are welcome. I suppose
that one might say the 9 planets are each moving at different rates of
speed. I wasn't sure what exactly to ask for, but as much diversity as
seems reasonable.

I have no specific limits, but I was trying to find out some relative
speeds of things I might have heard of. I think you're on the right
track, though.

If quasar xxxx is moving at .75c and quasar yyyy is moving at .1c,
that's good to know, but .1c is still 3e7m/s (if my math is correct).
That still leaves a factor of 100,000 between sound and .1c.

So, if I were to define it very explicitly, from 3.4e2 to 3e8, that
gives 7 discreet steps (including 3.4e2) at factors of 10^(step-1)m/s

One or two things at each step would be nice to know. Of course this
is only a guide and I'm not explicitly stating that I need something
that exactly goes 3e5m/s. Something that hovers the 1e5 m/s range or
9e5 ... I hope you get the idea. This is purely just information. Fun
to know, I guess.

There is a lot of freedom in the answer, I would like as reasonably
diverse as makes sense. Even "things that move in this range are like

If possible, I'd prefer things that normally move at the speeds (your
choice). Speed of light through bromide/argon, while accurate, might
be good if nothing else makes sense.

Clarification of Question by crythias-ga on 30 Jul 2004 05:21 PDT
I don't expect every single "step" to be represented, either. Is this
too hard of a question?

While I agree that it's relatively simple to find things that move at
one extreme or another, finding things that move anywhere extremely
fast (like 500x speed of sound) seemed difficult. I'll accept any
valiant effort as an answer, seriously.
Subject: Re: A list of extremely fast moving things (between sound and light)
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 30 Jul 2004 09:47 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello again, Crythias,

Here's what I got (approximate speeds -- pardon the mixing of miles and kms):

2 miles/s -- fastest jet
8 miles/sec -- apollo 10
20 km/s and up -- coronal mass ejections
40 miles/sec -- interplanetary spacecraft
80 miles/sec  -- solar tornados
150 miles/sec -- speed the Milky Way moves towards Andromeda
1,200 km/s -- nebula jets
2,000 km/s -- velocity of spiral nebulae
4,000 km/s -- expansion velocity of the cosmological "local group" 
15,000 miles/s -- nebulae moving away from earth
123,800 km/s -- speed of light through diamond
90,000 miles/s -- speed of lightning
100,000 miles/s -- speed of signal through telephone wires

and lastly:

Santa's Sleigh -- 8.3 million mph!

Key sources are listed below.  Let me know if you need any additional
information.  This was fun!



Kinematics of 1200 Kilometer per Second Jets in He 3-1475 
Spectroscopic observations of a protoplanetary nebula He 3-1475 with
the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph reveal the kinematics of its
high-velocity (1200 km s-1) jets.

The Convergence Depth of the Local Universe

The Local group and its neighbors all appear to be moving with respect
to the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB); searching for the
convergence length of this flow has been a critical problem in
cosmology. Giovanelli and collaborators argue that the flow decreases
steadily as larger volumes of the universe are sampled, finding that
it ends or "converges" at distances corresponding to an expansion
velocity of only 4000 km/s or so.

1910-1920: Slipher measures Doppler shifts of bright spiral nebulae.
He finds that they are moving fast, up to ~ 2000 km/s, nearly all away
from the Milky Way


Speed of light through various media:

Air..............299,706 km/s

Glass..........197,230 km/s

Diamond.....123,880 km/s

HIPASS Bright Galaxy Catalog

Velocities are color coded in bins of 1000 km/s: 
dark blue  circle  v < 1000 km/s  
light blue  cross  1000 < v < 2000 km/s  
green  star  2000 < v < 3000 km/s  
yellow  triangle  3000 < v < 4000 km/s  
orange  square  4000 < v < 5000 km/s  
red  plus  5000 < v < 6000 km/s  
red  cross  v > 6000 km/s  


These researchers were monitoring the top of a thunderstorm with
low-light, high-speed video equipment, when the ball of light "popped
out" of the top of a thundercloud and flashed across their
instrument's field of view in 1/10 of a second.

Santa From a Physicist's Perspective.

Santa's sleigh MUST move at about 8.3 MILLION MPH or 2,300 miles per
SECOND ? 3000 times the speed of sound

Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) are clouds of electrified, magnetic gas
weighing billions of tons ejected from the Sun and hurled into space
with speeds ranging from 12 to 1,250 miles per second (about 20 to
2,000 kilometers per second).

The earth orbits around the sun at a speed of about 18.51 miles per second

Lightning travels 90,000 miles per second

Telephone signals travels at 100,000 miles per second

5,000 mph jet ready for test flight

Once the spacecraft gets to Mars, it has to slow down from its 5.9
km/s (13,200 mph) speed relative to Mars to its desired 29 hour orbit
capture velocity of 4.7 km/s (10,510 mph) or less.


North American X-15A-2 
4,534 mph 
Mach 6.72 

Space Shuttle Columbia on re-entry 
17,000 mph 
Mach 25 

Apollo 10 capsule on re-entry 
24,790 mph 
Mach 36 

Voyager I 
38,600 mph 

Helios 2 
150,000 mph 

Vast solar tornadoes, which can wreak havoc upon electric systems,
satellites, and computers, have been discovered by the European Space
Agency's SOHO spacecraft....SOHO has detected a dozen tornadoes, some
nearly as wide as the Earth and gusting up to 300,000 mph

Space Ship Earth?A Cosmic Gran Prix

...So the speed at which we rotate on our axis at the equator is a
little over 1,000 mph.
...the speed that we travel around the Sun is 66,660 mph. system speed is roughly 43,200 mph.
...Our galaxy is also spinning around it?s own central mass (or black hole). The
speed of this galactic rotation is an incredible 489,600 mph
...The speed of our galaxy towards Andromeda is 180,000 mph,
...our ?local? group of galaxies, which consist of about 30+ such galaxies,
are being drawn towards a ?galaxy supercluster? in Virgo at 540,000 mph!!


Mount Wilson Observatory at Pasadena, Calif., reports the discovery in
two nebulae of apparent movement away from Earth at the rate of 15,000
miles per second


search strategy:  Google searches on:  

"1000..100000 miles per second"
"10000..100000 mps"
"10000..1000000 miles per hour"
"10000..1000000 mph"

and so on with km/s

Clarification of Answer by pafalafa-ga on 30 Jul 2004 17:18 PDT
Hey there.

Here's some atoms...

NASA's Solar, Anomalous and Magnetosphere Particle Explorer (SAMPEX)
satellite, an international collaboration with Germany, will
contribute new information on the composition of energetic particles
arriving at Earth from the solar atmosphere and interstellar space.

Most of the particles SAMPEX will observe will be atoms stripped of
some or all of their electrons and accelerated to speeds between
approximately 3,400 miles per second (5,470 km) and 140,000 miles per
second (225,302 km), or 2 percent and 75 percent of the speed of
crythias-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Kewl deal! I'm glad to contribute to your coffers, pafalafa. Nice
work. :) I suppose it'd be nice if they were on the same scale, but I
know, what do I expect for $10? :) I'm surprised that atoms aren't
listed as speedy :). Like, how fast an electron might move from one
state to another.

Subject: Re: A list of extremely fast moving things (between sound and light)
From: silver777-ga on 30 Jul 2004 06:38 PDT
Hi Crythias,

Please visit collective_intelligence via Yahoo Groups. Address your
question to a man by the handle of Irish. I promise that there will
"an" answer to your question if you cannot find it here. If similar
questions to that which you have just posed are of regular interest to
you, you will enjoy their collective intelligence.

Make sure that you pose a question to Irish about the speed of and
propogation of light in relation to and compared to the Doppler effect
of compressed sound waves in comparison to light waves.
Subject: Re: A list of extremely fast moving things (between sound and light)
From: saem_aero-ga on 30 Jul 2004 07:39 PDT
Just a friendly Comment.

The speed of light and speed of sound are different in various physical media.
Maybe it would be good to just define the boundaries your answers
should fall within.  I believe speed of sound of air at sea level is
340 m/s and for light, 2.97 x 10 ^ 8 m/s in a vacuum.  =)
Subject: Re: A list of extremely fast moving things (between sound and light)
From: crythias-ga on 30 Jul 2004 10:54 PDT
silver777, thank you. I'll consider it :).

saem_aero-ga, thank you for your comment. :) I hoped that, in my
clarification of 29 Jul 2004 21:28 PDT I made that distinction (3.4e2
m/s to 3e8 m/s). Although I *thought* that the range of differences of
speed between speed of sound at sea level and speed of light in vacuum
were understood, I didn't think that most variations would have been
great enough to make any major difference in the scales of values
requested. Specifically, no matter how fast sound travels, nor how
slow light may travel, the factors of 10 would be adequate to provide
something "in between". :) Of course, if there is a way that we might
be able to say that sound travels faster than light in a certain
circumstance, all bets are off on my question anyway :).
Subject: Re: A list of extremely fast moving things (between sound and light)
From: pafalafa-ga on 30 Jul 2004 11:04 PDT
Thanks's not too often that my answers are rated as
"kewl"...much appreciated.

I'm sure atoms and other small thingy's belong on the list, somewhere,
but for whatever reasons, they didn't pop up on my search.  But it's a
pretty good collection -- or should I say "kewlection" -- just the



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