Does The Sun Rotate?

The Earth rotates around its axis once every 24 hours, causing the sun to rise and set.

This rotation causes the sky to appear dark at night because the light from the sun is blocked by the atmosphere.

Does The Sun Rotate?

On the other hand, the moon does not rotate around the Earth, so it always faces us directly.

This means that the moonlight reflects off the surface of the Earth and back into space, giving the moon a bluish appearance.

The sun is a star, however, and stars don’t rotate. They shine because their hot gases are constantly being pushed outwards by gravity.

So this asks the question of whether the sun rotates or not?

We answer all your questions surrounding the rotation of the sun in this article and dive deeper into what the sun does for our universe.

The History Of The Sun

Astronomers have known about the sun’s nature since ancient times.

For example, in the 3rd century BC, the Greek philosopher Aristotle described how the sun was like a ball of fire.

He also noted that the sun appeared orange when seen through a telescope.

In 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus proposed that the sun wasn’t stationary, as had been previously believed.

Instead, he suggested that the sun revolved around the Earth. This idea would later be confirmed by Galileo Galilei in 1610.

In 1838, John Herschel discovered that the sun has an outer layer called the corona. This discovery led to the development of the solar eclipse.

In 1859, William Huggins observed that sunlight reflected off the Moon and cast shadows on the ground during lunar eclipses.

This observation allowed astronomers to use the Moon to measure distances across the Solar System.

What Does The Sun Do?

The sun is the center of the Solar System. It provides energy to the planets and everything else in the Universe. Without the sun, life wouldn’t exist.

The diameter of the sun is about 1,392,000 miles (2,300,000 km). That makes it slightly larger than the planet Mercury.

The sun is composed mostly of hydrogen gas (about 70%), with smaller amounts of helium, carbon, oxygen, neon, magnesium, silicon, iron, nickel, and sulfur.

These elements combine to form the sun’s core.

The sun’s core contains 99% of the mass of the entire sun. Because it’s so massive, the sun’s core is hotter than the rest of the sun.

The temperature inside the sun’s center reaches 10 million degrees Celsius!

The sun’s outer layers are made up of plasma, which is a mixture of charged particles. Plasma can move very quickly, but it isn’t solid like a rock.

When you look at the sun, you see only a small part of the sun’s surface. Most of the sun’s surface is hidden behind the thick atmosphere.

The sun is surrounded by a thin shell of gas called the photosphere.

This is where most of the visible light comes from. The photosphere is about 1,000 miles wide.

The sun’s atmosphere extends several thousand miles above the photosphere. Scientists call this region the chromosphere.

The chromosphere is filled with tiny, fast-moving clouds of electrically charged particles called plasmoids. Plasmoids create the sun’s auroras.

Does The Sun Rotate?

Does The Sun Rotate?

When we think of the sun, we usually imagine it as a fixed point in space. But the truth is much more interesting than that.

Yes, the sun rotates. However, its rotation takes place over 27 days, however, the further you move towards the sun’s poles, the slower the rotation speed.

The sun spins in one direction for 24 hours and then reverses itself. The different speeds of rotation are called differential rotation.

This simply means different parts of the sun rotate at alternate speeds.

The side of the sun facing us always appears to be moving toward us. But the opposite side of the sun never moves away from us.

If you were standing directly under the sun, you could watch the sun rotate all day long without ever getting tired.

The movement of the sun may seem chaotic, especially because our Earth rotates on its axis at one speed.

However, you need to remember that the sun is different from the Earth. The sun is made of gasses, and these spin at different rates.

It is not solid like Earth. Therefore, while the sun does rotate on its axis, different parts of the sun rotate at different speeds.

It does not rotate at a constant speed as our planet does. The differential rotation of the sun helps with sunspots, magnetic fields, and radiation.

Scientists often measure the sun’s rotation through sunspots. Sunspots are created through the sun’s magnetic field.

Scientists think that the movement of the inner layers and the radiation moving in the direction of the outer layers add to its magnetic fields.

Scientists use sunspots to analyze movement as inner currents carry plasma from the sun’s inner layers to the outer layers and add to the magnetic fields and rotations of the sun.

When Did The Sun Start Rotating?

Although we know that the sun doesn’t rotate, there’s still some debate over exactly when it started doing so.

Some scientists believe the sun began spinning around its axis around 4.6 billion years ago.

Others say it didn’t begin until much more recently.

Scientists have also found evidence of the sun rotating in the past.  They’ve found evidence that the sun was rotating faster in the past.

In 1843, astronomers noticed that the sun appeared to rotate about once every 10 days. At first, people thought that the sun might be rotating.

However, they later realized that the sun wasn’t rotating but instead had an elliptical orbit around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.

In 1845, German astronomer Heinrich Schwabe measured the sun’s rotation rate by observing the position of sunspots.

He found that the sun rotated at a rate of 1.5 degrees per hour.

But today, the sun rotates at a rate of 1 degree per minute. That means that the sun rotates at nearly half the speed it did in the 19th century.

Does The Sun Rotate Around its Axis?

Does The Sun Rotate?

Yes! The sun rotates around its axis. And this happens because the sun has a core. A star’s core contains mostly hydrogen gas.

Hydrogen atoms are very light, and therefore, they can easily escape the gravitational pull of the sun.

This creates space for other heavier elements to move closer to the surface of the sun.

These heavier elements create a strong magnetic field that keeps the lighter gases inside the sun.

This process causes the sun to rotate around its axis. As the sun spins, it heats the gases near its equator. This makes them expand.

When the gases expand, they push against the surrounding gases causing them to move away from the sun.

This pushes the gases toward the poles of the sun. This results in the sun being pulled back towards its center.

This is how the solar wind gets ejected from the sun.

How Do Scientists Know When The Sun Will Set?

Astronomers can predict when the sun will set because they can calculate how fast the earth orbits the sun.

They do this using Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation which states that two objects attract each other if they share mass.

Newton’s law of universal gravitation states that any two bodies are attracted to each other by their mutual gravitational force.

This force is equal to the product of the masses of the two bodies and proportional to the square of the distance between them.

Newton’s law of universal gravitation (N) G m1m2/r^2

Where: N Newton’s law of universal gravity; r distance between the two bodies; m1 mass of body 1; m2 mass of body 2

The equation above shows that the strength of the gravitational attraction between two bodies decreases as the distance between them increases.

If we want to find out how far away another object is from us, then we multiply the mass of the object by the inverse of the square root of the distance between them (the distance squared). 

Final Thoughts

We hope after reading this article you have learned a little bit more about the sun and we have answered your questions on its rotation.

Although it does rotate, it does not rotate like the Earth, and this is because it is made of gasses.

The sun provides energy, light and is the center of our Solar System, so remember, without the sun and its rotation, life wouldn’t even exist.

Gordon Watts