|Does the sun rotate?|
|Question Date: 2012-10-17|
Yes! The sun rotates. In fact, different
parts of the sun will rotate at different
speeds! The sun, like any other star in the
universe, is made up of gaseous plasma (really,
really hot gas). These gases can move at
The reason the sun and stars in general
rotate relates back to how the stars were
formed. Stars are typically "born" in nebula,
extremely large clouds of gases and space
debris. These nebula start out with a certain
amount of "angular momentum" and it turns out
that when the stars are born, they acquire some
angular momentum in order to conserve total
angular momentum. Angular momentum is in part a
measure of an object's rotational speed. If you
want to get a better sense of this property,
take a shoe string and tie an eraser to one end
of it. Pick it up and spin it (carefully) over
your head, like you're going to lasso a horse.
Try changing the radius of the circle you make
(decrease or increase the amount of shoelace you
allow to be part of the circle).
Good question! The sun does rotate, just like
Earth, but a lot slower. Every planet in our
solar system is rotating, and our solar system
itself is even rotating! The Earth rotates
around its polar axis once every 24 hours (1
day). The sun rotates around its axis in about
27 Earth days solarscience. What is really
interesting is that different parts of the sun
actually rotate at different speeds! This would
not be possible for the solid “terrestrial”
planets, because they are rigid. Because the sun
is a plasma (basically a super-heated gas where
electrons are stripped off of atoms), it can
deform and flow as a fluid. That is why
different parts flow at different rates.
Yep, the sun DOES rotate. Its rotation is
different from the earth's rotation, though,
because unlike the earth, the sun's rate of
rotation varies across its surface. The earth,
as you probably know, rotates once every 24
hours. The sun rotates faster at its equator
(once every ~27 days) than it does at its poles
(once every ~31 days). How can this happen?
Because the sun, unlike the earth, is composed
of a gaseous plasma.
Yes, the sun rotates. Because the material of
the sun is in the plasma phase, the rate of
rotation changes as you move from the sun's
poles to its equator, causing shearing along the
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