MLA Citation: Bloomfield, Louis A. "Question 1548: Why does the ground move slowly when viewed from a jet?"
How Everything Works 13 Dec 2017. 13 Dec 2017 <http://howeverythingworks.org/print1.php?QNum=1548>.
1548. When you traveling in a jet plane, why do objects on the ground look as though they are still or moving slowly? K, India
When you watch something move, what you really notice is the change in the angle at which see you it. Nearby objects don't have to be traveling fast to make you turn your head quickly to watch them go by so you perceive them as moving rapidly. An object that is heading directly toward you or away from you doesn't appear to be moving nearly as quickly because its change in angle is much smaller.

When you watch a distant object move, you don't see it change angles quickly so you perceive it as moving relatively slowly. Take the moon for example: it is moving thousands of miles an hour yet you can't see it move at all. It's just so far away that you see no angular change. And when you look down from a high-flying jet, the distant ground is changing angles slowly and therefore looks like it's not moving fast.


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