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Does the sun rotate?
Question Date: 2012-10-17
Answer 1:

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 different speeds.

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).

Answer 2:

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.

Answer 3:

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.

Answer 4:

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 sun's surface.

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