Last week I drove home from the Jersey Shore. By the way, it’s not like that awful television show. The Jersey Shore is beautiful and the people are awesome, but that’s not germane to the article. On the drive back up I saw an incredible evening sky. It was around 8:15, and the sky on the horizon was about as beautiful as it is in the picture, albeit with more purple. I wished I could enjoy that view all the way home. The drive home was a very quiet one, it was evening, the music was off, and the car was silent, save for the sound of the tires on the highway. I had plenty of time to think, and I wondered if it was possible to enjoy the same sunset for as long as you drive.
Ok, hear me out. In order to figure out if this is even possible - to drive at a constant, uninterrupted rate with no diversions and be able to look at the exact same horizon - there is undoubtedly math involved. Let me put this out there right now, I absolutely suck at math. Like I’m awful. My brain just doesn’t function that way. So I’m going to toss you all some numbers and some hypotheticals, and I want you to see if you can come up with some sort of scientific answer. Mind you, to make a trip like this happen is only improbable, it’s not impossible. First we need some fixed certainties.
The first thing we need is a long, uninterrupted highway going around one latitude of the Earth. I choose to go with the 45th parallel north. The starting point would be somewhere in middle America, so I choose Door Peninsula, WI. Random choice, but one that’s basically in the middle of the country. Here we go:
- 45th parallel north
- traveling west in a straight shot all along the 45th parallel
- at the 45th parallel north (in the summer), the Earth rotates at roughly 733 mph
- begin traveling at 8:00 pm on the evening of July 28 2017 (a random summertime date), again traveling west
- again, there is nothing impeding the journey - unlimited fuel, no bathroom/food breaks, no traffic/construction/etc. You have the road entirely to yourself and it has bridges which allow you to go over water whenever it is encountered
- your vehicle is capable of maintaining whatever speed you need
Is it possible to see the exact same horizon if you can travel at a fixed rate of speed, uninterrupted, if you travel unimpeded across the globe in a straight line? Do time zones factor in?
So I pose it to you - can you realistically answer this question for me?