In the Sirens of Titan, Kurt Vonnegut said :

Every passing hour brings the Solar System forty-three thousand miles closer to Globular Cluster M13 in Hercules — and still there are some misfits who insist that there is no such thing as progress

Kinda distracted today, but can’t get that quote out of my head.

Did he get it right ?

7 Responses to Progress

  1. Michael Merrifield says:

    If I remember rightly, M13 is clattering towards us at 240 km/s (some things from your PhD are just there forever!), which translates into 500,000 miles per hour.

    Maybe I misremembered, but I am sure Mr Cable will be very happy if we are making more than ten times the previously-advertised progress…

  2. Martin says:

    -245.6 km/s, according to t’Interweb.

  3. Alan Penny says:

    The key word is “closer”. To calculate this you need the transverse velocity as well as the radial velocity of -246 km/s. Does anyone know the transverse velocity?

  4. richard wade says:


  5. Michael Merrifield says:

    Surely, the rate at which M13 is currently getting closer is entirely dictated by the instantaneous radial velocity, since that is its current velocity along the line of sight joining us, and hence the component that dictates the rate at which it is closing.

  6. Sarah says:

    Wait, I have a book about this stuff somewhere. Binney and someone…. Someone should check that.

  7. Michael Merrifield says:

    Oh, you don’t want to go believing those guys…

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