Visualizing our Solar System

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ChrisGreaves
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Visualizing our Solar System

Post by ChrisGreaves »

In this post Graeme, bless his cotton socks, tried to help me and asked "Does this help?".
I didn't want to appear negative, so I decided to start a new thread with a more general application.
My problem with the business of Earthbound Earthlings staring at the night sky is that we do not have an intuitive or inbuilt knowledge of the solar system, let alone the galaxy. See for example "Flat-earth society" and "Daddy, why is the moon lit up like that when the sun is on the other side of the earth right now?".
Hence this thread.

Below is Graeme's excellent image.
DSSO7TyXUAAPQeR.jpg
I take our Milky Way galaxy as a starting point. There are other galaxies with other shapes, but if The Milky Way was good enough for my mother, then it is good enough for me.

The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy and our solar system is on one of its arms. In the image above we see The Milky Way edge-on, so we do not see the catherine-wheel like spiral arms, just a cross-section of a lenticular shape, and the centre of The Milky Way appears to be about 1/3 the way in from the left hand side of my image.

At this point I will ask Graeme to confirm my view. :pause for response:

The star we call "The Sun" is represented by the orange ball, and The Sun travels in an orbit around the centre of The Milky Way about once every two hundred and thirty million years

So far so good? :pause for response:

Since I can't believe that a spheroid the size of The Sun doesn't have some rotational energy, then The Sun rotates on an axis, as does The Earth - but we're not there yet.

I am now officially out of my depth, so here is the First Real Question:- The axis of rotation of the sun, is it practically perpendicular to the sun's plane of orbit around the galaxy?
DSSO7TyXUAAPQea.jpg
That is, Does the Sun spin with its rotational/spinning axis as shown in my modified image?
If not, how far is the sun's axis tilted away from the vertical? :pause for response:
The answer to this question will affect my next question, but until I get The Sun properly pictured in my mind, I should wait.

Thanks
Chris
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HansV
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Re: Visualizing our Solar System

Post by HansV »

The Sun rotates in the same plane as the planets (or vice versa), so the rotation axis of the Sun is perpendicular to the plane of the solar system. All planets rotate around the Sun in the same direction as the Sun's rotation. This is no doubt related to the way the solar system evolved.
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Re: Visualizing our Solar System

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Yes and if the Sun's rotational axis is perpendicular to the plane of the Solar System and that is 60° angled from the plane of the galactic disc then the sun's axis is tilted away from the vertical by 60° + 90°.

Who better to explain it than the very lovely Dr Becky:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ieq_z81JpL8

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Graeme

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Re: Visualizing our Solar System

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The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy and our solar system is on one of its arms. In the image above we see The Milky Way edge-on, so we do not see the catherine-wheel like spiral arms, just a cross-section of a lenticular shape, and the centre of The Milky Way appears to be about 1/3 the way in from the left.

Perhaps more like, we are about a third of the way out from the centre of the galaxy which is a disc of stars, so we see that as a band of stars all the way around us. The central bulge of the milky way is in the direction of Sagittarius but the band of stars that is the disc can be seen going through the centre of the Summer triangle, through Cassiopeia and Auriga (looking out from the centre) then back to Sagittarius via a load of Southern hemisphere constellations that I don't know! At least we could if light pollution wasn't so bad!

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Re: Visualizing our Solar System

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Since I can't believe that a spheroid the size of The Sun doesn't have some rotational energy, then The Sun rotates on an axis, as does The Earth - but we're not there yet.

Rotates once every 30 days about. But since it's a ball (slightly oblate spheroid) of plasma, it rotates faster at it's equator.

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Re: Visualizing our Solar System

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HansV wrote:
30 Nov 2020, 21:07
The Sun rotates in the same plane as the planets (or vice versa), so the rotation axis of the Sun is perpendicular to the plane of the solar system. All planets rotate around the Sun in the same direction as the Sun's rotation. This is no doubt related to the way the solar system evolved.
Hello Hans. I understand this, because my early understanding of the universe was that spiral galaxies condensed out of a mass of matter with rotational momentum, and that rotational momentum was transmitted to smaller parts of the galaxy, specifically regions of matter that condensed into solar systems, whose planets inherited that rotational energy, whose satellites inherited that rotational energy. Hence my mental image was of a collection od spheroid objects, all rotating in the same plane, in the same direction, neatly-aligned axes of rotation. A Fractal-like image of ever increasing complexity.

Then I leaned that the axis of Uranus is tilted by 98 degrees. Now for whatever the reason of that tilt, obviously it happened, and so my neat mental image of all my spinning tops behaving like a synchronized swimming team is corrupted.

That is why I am starting from my basic understanding and slowly working my way towards my original question in the earlier thread.

Based in a large part on your response I shall take the answer to the question "the axis of rotation of the sun, is it practically perpendicular to the sun's plane of orbit around the galaxy?" as "Yes", and continue from there.

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Chris
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Re: Visualizing our Solar System

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Graeme wrote:
30 Nov 2020, 23:02
Yes and if the Sun's rotational axis is perpendicular to the plane of the Solar System and that is 60° angled from the plane of the galactic disc then the sun's axis is tilted away from the vertical by 60° + 90°. Who better to explain it than the very lovely Dr Becky: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ieq_z81JpL8
I have contacted Tippet-Richardson to get a quote on moving my books and furniture from Bonavista to Oxford UK. In the meantime ...

Thanks Graeme. Here is where I am now (on my journey to staring at the sky).
Dr Becky's explanation has confirmed my fried-egg view of The Milky Way.
The Universe is 13B years old and our Solar System only 4B years old, so The Milky Way galaxy must be between 4B and 13B years old.
The original overall rotational energy of The Universe must be conserved (Isaac Newton, I think) but individual chunks of The Universe (for example, The Milky Way) can possess different Angular/Rotational momentum (??) as long as somewhere else in The Universe there is a corresponding but opposite variation so that overall, the angular momentum of The Milky Way is conserved. :pause for response:

So it is that our Solar System condensed from a localized cloud of gas within The Milky Way galaxy that had an angular momentum that is 60 degrees away from the plane of The Milky Way. That is why our Solar System "disk" is not parallel to the Milky Way disk. (Anomaly #1). And so The bits and pieces that didn't make it to Our Sun follow an orbital path that is in the same plane as the Sun's rotational plane. ("The Ecliptic", I think), and that means that The earth's orbit around the sun must be at a tilt of 60 degrees relative to the plane of The Milky Way.

So now I visualize the solar system as an almost-cold fried egg, the yolk still being hot, but the white being a collection of discrete particles (Mercury, Venus, Earth (and The Moon), asteroids, comets, dust, gas etc) which revolve around The Sun. This plane of planetary orbits need not be (and statistically ought not to be) parallel to the plane of The Milky Way. Dr Becky points out that The Sun's rotational axis is tilted at 60 degrees relative to the plane of the Milky Way and so The Sun's planets orbital plane is at that same angle of tilt.

By a similar argument, each planet (The Earth, Uranus ...) can obtain an angular momentum that differs from the plane of The Solar System.

And that is why our Earth System "disk" is not congruent to The Sun's disk. (Anomaly #2). The Earth has inherited a 23 degree tilt relative to The Sun's plane (a.k.a. The Earth's Orbital Plane) as The Earth's own localized angular momentum, and Uranus likewise has obtained its own angular momentum (which I am not brave enough to characterize as negative angular momentum) helping to bring things back to average.

I should stop here while i assimilate this newer part of my view.

Cheers
chris
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Re: Visualizing our Solar System

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Graeme wrote:
30 Nov 2020, 23:31
Perhaps more like, we are about a third of the way out from the centre of the galaxy ...
Quite So. I should have said "the centre of The Milky Way appears to be about 1/3 the way in from the left hand side of my image." I have edited my original post. Thanks Graeme
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Re: Visualizing our Solar System

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Graeme wrote:
30 Nov 2020, 23:35
Rotates once every 30 days about. But since it's a ball (slightly oblate spheroid) of plasma, it rotates faster at it's equator.
Thanks again, Graeme. My brain is not equipped to imagine a seedless orange the size of The Sun (diameter about 1.392 million km) rotating once every 30 earth-days, although I know that mathematics can cope with it.
Maybe after my second :coffeetime:
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Re: Visualizing our Solar System

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ChrisGreaves wrote:
01 Dec 2020, 11:21
....and that rotational momentum was transmitted to smaller parts of the galaxy, specifically regions of matter that condensed into solar systems, whose planets inherited that rotational energy, whose satellites inherited that rotational energy.....

That's probably largely true but the momentum is constantly being disturbed and perturbed by events such as supernova explosions and hypervelocity rogue stars etc. The gravitational collapse of the cloud of gas and dust that formed our Solar System is thought to have been initiated by a hypernova following the merging of two neutron stars that would themselves have stirred things up after the two separate supernovae that formed them. Evidenced by the copious amounts of heavy metals we are blessed with.

If the evidence of exoplanets is anything to go by then Uranus was probably formed further out from the Sun and moved closer following a collision with a larger object that knocked it bandy! Earth's 23° tilt was probably a result of a collision of something big, Theia or more numerous smaller collisions and the Moon was formed from the orbiting debris.

Sorry to ramble but this is just the sort of stuff that first got me interested in astronomy after reading about the Kuiper belt and realising that we don't just live in an 8 planet simple system! :grin:

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Graeme
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Re: Visualizing our Solar System

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Not only do we just live in an 8 planet simple system - they've just found another million galaxies without trying very hard.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-12-01/ ... e/12938174

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Re: Visualizing our Solar System

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The SKA is an impressive telescope!

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Re: Visualizing our Solar System

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I read this yesterday and it almost made me teary-eyed.
"The 13.5 exabytes of raw data generated by the telescope was processed and reconstructed using CSIRO's custom-built software ASKAPsoft at the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in Kensington, Western Australia."
This processing used to be done, a long, long time ago, on the second floor of the Physics Building of the University of Western Australia on the DEC PDP-6 (later upgraded to a System-10), and that was the second computer I programmed on. The first was the IBM 1620, same room, same floor, same building, and they gave me a key so that I could let myself in at 2am.
Sigh!
Nowadays I am reduced to using a laptop with Win10.

If I could get even just one-tenth of one percent of the funding that Pawsey received, I'd fly out of St John's tonight and take Dr. Becky :heart: out for a coffee. :kiss: :cloud9:

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Re: Visualizing our Solar System

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Graeme wrote:
01 Dec 2020, 12:24
... the momentum is constantly being disturbed and perturbed by events such as supernova explosions and hyper velocity rogue stars etc.
Thanks even more Graeme.
I am happy now in thinking that when our Solar System formed its lenticular attitude, its 60 degrees tilt relative to the galactic plane was due to a random process - that neighbour hood clump of stuff just happened to have a 60-degree rotational plane relative to the galactic plane.

So now I can visualize The Sun with a rotational axis tilted 60 degrees to the galactic plane.

For the same reason I have for a few years been able to visualize The Earth tilted at 23 degrees to the Earth's orbital plane around The Sun.

And as Dr Becky showed (if I got this right), depending on The Earth's position in the 230 million year orbit around the galactic centre, our (earth's) southern hemisphere could be at a 60+23 orientation or at a 60-23 orientation. The same must be true for Dr Becky when she is 229,999,968 years older, and as her animation showed, Sagittarius will be only 45 high in the sky (assuming she still lives on Oxford) , which (45) is approximately 60-23.

I shall sleep soundly tonight, assuming I can avoid watching more YouTube videos.

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Chris
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Re: Visualizing our Solar System

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ChrisGreaves wrote:
01 Dec 2020, 15:34
I shall sleep soundly tonight, assuming I can avoid watching more YouTube videos.

Not much chance of that, Dr Becky has made lots of Youtube videos.

She makes Podcasts for the RAS too!

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Graeme

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Re: Visualizing our Solar System

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Graeme wrote:
01 Dec 2020, 17:39
Not much chance of that, Dr Becky has made lots of Youtube videos. She makes Podcasts for the RAS too!
Graeme, I'm starting to go off you, you know? :laugh: :rofl: :laugh: :hairout:

(later) Oh Goodie. There are only eleven episodes. Once I have finished my second pass through "The History Of English Podcast" plus the Bonus Episodes and the two Audio Books, I'll be able to knock of these 11 episodes well before The Universe Explodes.

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Re: Visualizing our Solar System

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Simple question for my simple mind:
It seems that the Universe is interconnected like one giant brain ... perhaps with similarities to our Chris :cheers: Since we live in our Milky way 'edge on', how can we be sure it is a spiral galaxy.
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Re: Visualizing our Solar System

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By inference (measuring speeds of stars in our neighbourhood). Not by direct observation, of course.
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Re: Visualizing our Solar System

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HansV wrote:
01 Dec 2020, 19:22
By inference (measuring speeds of stars in our neighbourhood). Not by direct observation, of course.
Ah but ...
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Re: Visualizing our Solar System

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ChrisGreaves wrote:
01 Dec 2020, 18:22
Graeme wrote:
01 Dec 2020, 17:39
Not much chance of that, Dr Becky has made lots of Youtube videos. She makes Podcasts for the RAS too!
Graeme, I'm starting to go off you, you know? :laugh: :rofl: :laugh: :hairout:

(later) Oh Goodie. There are only eleven episodes. Once I have finished my second pass through "The History Of English Podcast" plus the Bonus Episodes and the two Audio Books, I'll be able to knock of these 11 episodes well before The Universe Explodes.

Cheers
Chris
All the episodes of the History of English Podcast - and they're only as fast as the Great Bowel Shift. I'd stand well away.