UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
Are all the planets rotating at the same speed around the sun?
Question Date: 2020-09-30
Answer 1:

The planets in our sun system are moving with different speeds around the sun. This motion of the planets around the sun is often called "orbiting". Each of the 8 planets in our sun systems orbits around the sun at its own speed (even Pluto). In fact, Mercury is the fastest planet and moves with 47.87 kilometers per second, which is equal to 107,082 miles per hour.

The Earth moves with 66,615 miles per hour at a little more than half the speed of Mercury. We are not feeling this extreme speed because our reference system is the earth. That means we are also moving at the speed of the earth and therefore everything feels still. However, if you are in a car that drives 65 miles per hour on the highway, you could be also moving 66,680 miles per hour (66,615 + 65 miles per hour) if your reference system is our sun system and not the earth. Furthermore, our sun system itself is moving too. "Everything is relative", as Albert Einstein used to say.

Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use