In one week you can celebrate a delightfully weird astronomical event: Galactic Tick Day.
It was created by a group of West Coast science enthusiasts to celebrate the journey that the Solar System takes around the disk of the Milky Way galaxy. The trip takes about 225 million years, a period they’ve divided into “ticks” (as in a clock’s sound, not the arachnid) of 633.7 days, or 1.74 years. Each tick is the time for the Solar System to move one centi-arcsecond (one-100th of an arcsecond, a measure of angular rotation) of the overall trip. Roughly.
Sept. 29 will be the 235th Galactic Tick Day, because they decided we should start counting on Oct. 2, 1608, the day that Hans Lippershey filed the patent for the first telescope. That is ridiculously arbitrary, which is why it’s awesome.
They hope that this silly but intriguing celebration will get people thinking about the wonders the universe, such as the fact that Earth is moving around the sun at 67,000 mph and we’re moving around the galaxy at roughly 514,000 mph. “Galactic Tick Day is set aside to acknowledge our Sun’s motion, our progress around the home galaxy, and to celebrate humanity’s knowledge of this motion” they say.
It’s nice to celebrate knowledge.
If you want to learn more they have a Facebook page (here) and a website at galactictick.com. I don’t know of any celebrations planned in New England; if you hear of one, let me know!
That is pretty cool to know. Knowledge is power.
By the next “tick day”, we may not be around anymore. Or we may be headed to a nicer/better place.
A “tick day” is 1.74 years. The entire rotation is ~225.000.000 years
It takes 225 MILLION years to complete one circuit around the galaxy, even though we’re traveling (with the sun) at over 500,000 mph. Think about that. You realize just how freaking big this galaxy is, and then you realize just how small this galaxy is compared to the rest of the known universe. Are we alone? Seriously? OF COURSE NOT.
Your initial observations do not match your conclusion. This galaxy is big, the universe is bigger. What does that have to do with being alone? You might just as well have said, “the universe is big so my pants are purple.”
Too bad it didn’t happen on the equinox as that would really make it allthemore significant. How many more ‘ticks’will it will come and go before that happen again I ask you.
Cool picture, but the location is off by about 2.5 million light years. That galaxy is M-31, the Andromeda Galaxy. Maybe do your homework next time. Something like this would be better:
It’s a little bit difficult to get a photo of our galaxy … Voyager has a ways to go yet.
I did not know, when I saw the picture, what galaxy that was. But, it was obviously not the Milky Way!
I noticed that too – oh well – it’s the concept that matters!!
We r so small ????
It’s a great knowledge.
I want to know more knowledge about our galaxy.
AMAZING ARTICLE – MANY THANKS !
This is awesome, besides we are traveling over 1/2 a million miles an hour, right now.
I don’t think the vast universe makes sense without intelligent life to comprehend it.
I’m just wondering who (or what) took the ‘We are here’ picture at the head of the article.
Great minds think alike!
Time for the solar system! Nice. We are smart fully small compared to the system. Than you.
I really do not think that the arrow is pointing to “us” in that picture. That is the Andromeda galaxy, M31, and dwarf galaxies M32 & M110. Big fail there!
So, I have a question. The picture with this story shows an arrow pointing to a spot in the Milky Way and a notation saying “You are here!” Who took that picture? Think about it.
In the photo of M31, “We” refers to creatures who sent a spacecraft to our galaxy, which then took the photo of their home. To be pedantic, the “We are here” ought to read “We were here 2.5 million years ago.”
Very Interesting, one question, however. What measure was used to find the starting point of this cycle? I can see that it is the sun moving in a complete cycle around the galaxy, but what point in time did it begin. We are obviously back at this point. I just wanted to know if there were any specific measurements that were made to determine where the cycle begins to were it now going to be. Thanks.
Third paragraph of the story: “they decided we should start counting on Oct. 2, 1608, the day that Hans Lippershey filed the patent for the first telescope. That is ridiculously arbitrary, which is why it’s awesome.”