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barrycarter t1_iwbesmi wrote

We measure the distance to nearby stars using parallax: simplified, we take two points in the Earth's orbit that are 186 million miles apart and see how much a nearby star has shifted against the background of other stars. This amount, while measurable, is very small and not something you'd be able to see with the naked eye.

At 50,000mph, it'd take you about 6 months to get 186 million miles and you wouldn't see even a slight shift in the nearest stars (unless you had a telescope), so no, stars wouldn't whiz by at that speed.

Take heart, though. Thanks to relativity, you can crank up your speed to where you might actually notice changes in stellar angles, both because the galaxy is denser as you travel towards the center and because your "rapidity" (speed compensated for contraction) get quite high. More information: