Does The Sun Move?


The basic knowledge we receive about the cosmos usually involves the rotation and revolution paths of multiple celestial bodies around the mighty Sun. However, there seems to be a common misjudgment about the mobility of the Sun. Most believe that it is a stationary star. However, 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.

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. This arm is believed to be located between two major arms, Perseus and Sagittarius.

The diameter of the Milky Way is an astounding 100,000 light years and the Sun is located at a relatively modest 28,000 light-years from the Galactic Center. It has been recently suggested that ours is a barred spiral galaxy. This term indicates that our galaxy has a bar of stars crossing the central bulge as opposed to the usual bulge of gas and stars at the center.

The fundamental policy of mobility in the universe revolves (Judge away!) around that fact that everything rotates on an axis and orbits something else in space. The Sun is never an exception. Arguably, it is far more challenging to track the Sun’s movement as compared to an average solid body.  “Since the sun is a ball of gas/plasma, it does not have to rotate rigidly like the solid planets and moons do,” according to NASA.

In fact, our gaseous sun is divided into different zones and layers, with each of our host star’s regions moving at varying speeds. On average, the sun rotates on its axis once every 27 days. However, its equator spins the fastest and takes about 24 days to rotate, while the poles take more than 30 days. The inner parts of the sun also spin faster than the outer layers. How very dynamic!

The speculated rotation of the sun was theoretically proved when Galileo Galilei noticed something odd way back in 1612! Sunspots moved across the sun’s disk over time confirming the speculation and also proving useful in monitoring the sun’s extent of mobility. Sunspots occur where the sun’s plasma interacts with its magnetic field and can lead to solar flares and other types of solar storms.

You’d expect sunspots to be hot, but they’re actually cold areas on the sun’s surface, though “cold” is a relative term. Sunspots average around 5,000 to 7,500 degrees Fahrenheit (2,760 to 4150 degrees Celsius), in contrast to the areas surrounding them, which average around 9,900 degrees F (5,480 C). Rather intriguing to know that every cosmic existence is in a state of continuous motion. Ever wondered where it stops?

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