Does The Sun Move?

by Jerry Coffey on March 22, 2010

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Does The Sun Move

The center of our Milky Way galaxy. Image credit: NASA.

Does the Sun Move? What an interesting question. We mainly talk about everything in the solar system orbiting the Sun and celestial objects outside the solar system being in relation to the Sun. The answer to the question is : Yes. The Sun and the entire solar system orbits around the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The average velocity of the solar system is 828,000 km/hr. At that rate it will take about 230 million years to make one complete orbit around the galaxy.

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The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy. It is believed that it consists of a central bulge, 4 major arms, and several shorter arm segments. The Sun and the rest of our solar system is located near the Orion arm, between two major arms, Perseus and Sagittarius. The diameter of the Milky Way is about 100,000 light years and the Sun is located about 28,000 light-years from the Galactic Center. It has been suggested fairly recently that ours is actually a barred spiral galaxy. That means that instead of a bulge of gas and stars at the center, there is probably a bar of stars crossing the central bulge.

Everything in the known universe rotates on an axis and orbits something else in space. The Sun is no exception. Here is the NASA webpage about the sun’s movements through space. Astronomy Cast offers two good episodes: one is about the mysteries of the solar system and the other is about solar system movements.

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