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March 7, 2018

#1964: Spatial Orientation

Spatial Orientation

[Cueball appears to be tilted on a descending slope, with his arms held out. There is a thought bubble above his head, with the top, left and right of the bubble cut off due to its size. His thoughts are arranged into four paragraphs in the bubble.]

Cueball (thinking): I’m facing West so the Earth’s spin is carrying me backward. But our orbit is carrying me forward around the Sun.

The Sun is passing over my left shoulder. I’m at 39°N, so I’m tilted. But wait, Earth’s axis is tilted by 23°. Do I add or subtract that to get the tilt of the Solar System?

Ok, I see the Moon. It follows the Sun’s path, but is it moving toward it or away? I know it orbits counterclockwise from the North…

My head hurts. Let me start over.

[Two off-screen voices coming from the bottom right of the panel.]

Off-screen voice #1: He’s just standing there. Hey, do you know which way the theater is or not?

Off-screen voice #2: Let’s ask someone else.

[Caption below the panel:]

I spend way too much time trying to work out my orientation relative to other stuff in the universe.