Does the Sun rotate?
As the sun orbits around the milky way, does the sun rotate, i.e., does it spin?
The Sun does indeed rotate. Galileo noted this nearly 400 years ago when he observed sunspots. As you can see from this animation, the apparent motion of the sunspots can be used to determine the rotation speed of the Sun. As it turns out, the Sun's rotation is quite different from that of most of the planets. A rigid body such as the Earth will clearly have a single rotation rate. But since the Sun is made of gas, different parts of it rotate at different speeds. Near the Sun's equator, it completes one rotation every 27 Earth days. But near the poles, it's about 31 Earth days. This is called "differential rotation".
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.
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 102427 times since March 29, 2004.
Last modified: November 9, 2004 8:49:46 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)