Does the Sun orbit the Earth as well as the Earth orbiting the Sun?
Is it true that Sun also revolves around the Earth? If yes, apart from convenience, is there another reason why we use the Solar-centered coordinate system ?
Technically, what is going on is that the Earth, Sun and all the planets are orbiting around the center of mass of the solar system. This is actually how planets orbiting other stars are often detected, by searching for the motion of the stars they orbit that is caused by the fact that the star is orbiting the center of mass of the system, causing it to wobble on the sky.
The center of mass of our solar system very close to the Sun itself, but not exactly at the Sun's center (it is actually a little bit outside the radius of the Sun). However, since almost all of the mass within the solar system is contained in the Sun, its motion is only a slight wobble in comparison to the motion of the planets. Therefore, assuming that the Sun is stationary and the planets revolve around its center is a good enough approximation for most purposes.
Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:
- Podcast? Subscribe? Tell me about the Ask an Astronomer Podcast
- Subscribe to our Podcast | Listen to our current Episode
- Cool! But I can't now. Send me a quick reminder now for later.
- What is the significance of the second focus of elliptical orbits of planets in our Solar System?
- Why do the planets orbit the sun?
How to ask a question:
If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist
This page has been accessed 90833 times since February 4, 2003.
Last modified: June 27, 2005 12:19:59 PM
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.
Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)