How Fast Does the Sun Move?

How quickly does the Sun spin or rotate?

June 25, 2019
Our Sun in the Milky Way Galaxy

The Sun’s location in our Milky Way galaxy.

Caltech

Does the Sun spin? Yes, very slowly! Does the Sun orbit anything? Yes, it does! Find out facts about how our Sun moves!

Does the Sun Spin?

Yes, the Sun rotates!   The Sun is the center of our solar system, but it doesn’t stay in one place.

How Quickly Does the Sun Rotate?

The Sun moves ver-r-r-y slowly!

The Sun spins or rotates on its axis in the same direction as Earth (counterclockwise, when looking down from the north pole).

Because it is a gas, it does not rotate like a solid. Different sections rotate at different speeds!

The Sun actually spins faster at its equator than at its poles.

At the surface, the area around the equator rotates once about every 24 days. The Sun’s north and south poles rotate more slowly. It can take those areas more than 30 days to complete one rotation.

We know this by watching the motion of sunspots and other solar features move across the Sun. The giant gas planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, also spin faster at their equators than at their poles.

Does the Sun Orbit Anything?

Yes! The Sun orbits around the center of our Milky Way Galaxy, which is a spiral galaxy. It’s located about two-thirds of the way out from the center of the Milky Way which is about 28,000 light–years away. (A light-year is about 5.88 trillion miles.)

And it’ not just only our Sun orbiting. Our entire solar system—which contains our Sun, planets, moon, asteroid, and comets—orbits the center of the Milky Way.

We are moving at an average velocity of 828,000 km/hr.  Even at that high rate, it takes the Sun about 230 million years to go around the galaxy once! One journey around the Milky Way galaxy is sometimes called a cosmic year.

Cool, eh? 

The Sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent upon it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.
–Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer (1564–1642)

See more facts about your Sun!

Source: 

The Old Farmer's Almanac for Kids, Volume 2

720x480-gardening.jpg

Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

I don't know if you can be of

I don't know if you can be of help or not, but I would appreciate whatever you might be able to offer.  I seem to remember an astronomy article from a l-o-n-g ago OF's Almanac issue that described, perhaps depicted, the realistic distances between the planets of our solar system in a way that would help an everyday reader understand just exactly how far these distances actually were. It was a practical description, analogous to understanding the "distance equivalence scale" that one sees on a wall map of a really large area; ex: 1 inch=50 miles, etc. etc. I remember the article suggesting,for instance, that if you were in a room which represented Earth, then the moon would be across the way where the other wall was. The distance from Earth to Mars then, would mean that you would have to go outside and look down the sidewalk to the end of your city block. To Jupiter, one would then have to keep walking to the half-mile mark, and so forth and so forth. . . I would REALLY like to find which back issue of the OF's Almanac that this truly interesting, very helpful, and practical article was printed in. Would appreciate whatever assistance that you might be able to provide. Thank-You. Sincerely, Harris C. McGuire, Wichita, KS 67213

Hmm. At this point, we could

The Editors's picture

Hmm. At this point, we could not find the article that you mention. The closest would be "How Old Is the Starlight You'll See Tonight?" by Frederick F. Bird on pages 40-41 in The 1983 Old Farmer's Almanac. It gives a list of some of the brighter stars that we can see, and what happened on Earth when the light left that star to reach us in 1983 (date of article). It also gives a simple sketch of a star map with these major stars listed. If we come across an article that is closer to what you have described, we'll post the title/author/publication year here. Thank you for your interest in The Old Farmer's Almanac!