ELI5, Is there a sense of direction and space?

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Like if you were to leave Earth’s atmosphere and “float” next to it would you see the “floor” of space? Is it darkness? Would you see the stars down too.

How can you get oriented to direction? What’s north, south, east west?

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21 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

There’s no north, south, east, or west in space. Those are relative to Earth’s axis, so if you aren’t on Earth, there’s nothing to reference. You could create your own direction system relative to some object, like towards the sun and away from the sun. Someone else in space might come up with a different system, though.

There’s no floor or center to space. Any direction system you come up with would be arbitrary and relative to some object you pick.

Anonymous 0 Comments

There’s no north, south, east, or west in space. Those are relative to Earth’s axis, so if you aren’t on Earth, there’s nothing to reference. You could create your own direction system relative to some object, like towards the sun and away from the sun. Someone else in space might come up with a different system, though.

There’s no floor or center to space. Any direction system you come up with would be arbitrary and relative to some object you pick.

Anonymous 0 Comments

There’s no north, south, east, or west in space. Those are relative to Earth’s axis, so if you aren’t on Earth, there’s nothing to reference. You could create your own direction system relative to some object, like towards the sun and away from the sun. Someone else in space might come up with a different system, though.

There’s no floor or center to space. Any direction system you come up with would be arbitrary and relative to some object you pick.

Anonymous 0 Comments

There isn’t any “true” up, down, north, south, or backwards, forwards. To orient yourself, you have to decide on a reference object. Often, it is either the Earth or the Sun. If you have your reference object, you can say “I am 4,000 kms away from Earth, with my closest coordinate on the surface being 30° North, 15° East, or some other information that communicates where you are compared to Earth.

Anonymous 0 Comments

There isn’t any “true” up, down, north, south, or backwards, forwards. To orient yourself, you have to decide on a reference object. Often, it is either the Earth or the Sun. If you have your reference object, you can say “I am 4,000 kms away from Earth, with my closest coordinate on the surface being 30° North, 15° East, or some other information that communicates where you are compared to Earth.

Anonymous 0 Comments

North, south east and west are only really relevant to the planet. You can arbitrarily pick a point of reference in the Galaxy and define a “north” from there, but it doesn’t have any relation to how we use those words on earth.

Down is similarly arbitrary. On earth “down” means towards the center of the earth, following the locally dominant pull of gravity. In microgravity, down is whatever you want it to be because it really only exists in your head as a way to orient yourself and organize your craft, life, etc…

Anonymous 0 Comments

North, south east and west are only really relevant to the planet. You can arbitrarily pick a point of reference in the Galaxy and define a “north” from there, but it doesn’t have any relation to how we use those words on earth.

Down is similarly arbitrary. On earth “down” means towards the center of the earth, following the locally dominant pull of gravity. In microgravity, down is whatever you want it to be because it really only exists in your head as a way to orient yourself and organize your craft, life, etc…

Anonymous 0 Comments

North, south east and west are only really relevant to the planet. You can arbitrarily pick a point of reference in the Galaxy and define a “north” from there, but it doesn’t have any relation to how we use those words on earth.

Down is similarly arbitrary. On earth “down” means towards the center of the earth, following the locally dominant pull of gravity. In microgravity, down is whatever you want it to be because it really only exists in your head as a way to orient yourself and organize your craft, life, etc…

Anonymous 0 Comments

There isn’t any “true” up, down, north, south, or backwards, forwards. To orient yourself, you have to decide on a reference object. Often, it is either the Earth or the Sun. If you have your reference object, you can say “I am 4,000 kms away from Earth, with my closest coordinate on the surface being 30° North, 15° East, or some other information that communicates where you are compared to Earth.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Not sure what you mean by floor of space, but assuming there’s anything nearby to give a sense of orientation you just pick an orientation and pretend that’s “up” even in a narrow sense… If you’re just in deep space, you’d probably see the band of the galaxy… In between galaxies it’s hard to say, someone’s probably got a simulation of what you’d see

But yea, unless you’re seriously far away from anything big or bright, yea, you’d see stars and at least the side of any planets or moons nearby that happened to be lit by the sun (assuming you’re still in a planetary system and/or relatively close to a planet/moon/etc)

As far as orientation, I’m pretty sure the space station has various panels on each wall that have an “up” just so two things in the same workstation aren’t oriented opposite from each other, but they each probably have a different “up”, or maybe just one way down the center of each tube… but if they were all the other way around, that’d be fine too (except they probably chose specific orientations relative to one another)

There are also several video games where you’re in space or otherwise don’t have a predefined “up” and some people get motion sick or disoriented, but you can also just get used to not having a specific direction be “up”

As far as north/south etc, that’s more of a navigation issue, so you’d probably need to identify certain stars and go from the, and if you went far enough you’d have to account for the patterns and relationships between stars changing because they’re not actually a static 2d dome around you like it appears when you are stationary