Are we/you moving right now?  Please Explain. 

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

“Moving” is a relative term.  Any object with kinetic energy can be said to be moving, but the question is “Are we moving relative to…X?”  where X is another object either at rest or itself moving.  Are we moving relative to the sun?  Yes, because we are in orbit around it.  Are we moving relative to London, England?  No, if we discount Continental Drift.  Are we moving relative to our house? Yes, if we’re in a car—No, if we’re sitting on our couch.  Is the television tuner moving relative to our hand? Is our thumb moving relative to the “off” button?  And so forth. In the cosmological realm, the Big Bang Theory says we (and everything else) are moving away from the theoretical center of the universe.  In science, equations measuring of velocity or acceleration can only be expressed and calculated relative to another object, preferably one with no kinetic energy of its own in the equation.  When Galileo dropped cannon balls from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, he did not need to include the rate of the earth’s spin in his calculation of the balls’ acceleration or terminal velocity, because the Tower was not “moving” relative to the ground.  

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial