# Thread: Orbit of the Earth

1. If I were standing on the "Pole" of the sun, that is, in relation to Earth's Pole, and I observed the Earth, in what direction would it orbit?

2.

3. Basically, if you looked "down" at the solar system from the direction of the North pole, then the Earth orbits the Sun counter-clockwise. However the Sun also rotates, and it does so faster than the Earth orbits ( ~10.5 degrees/day vs ~1 degree/day for the Earth), so if you were standing on the "North" pole of the Sun, the Earth would appear to travel in a clockwise motion around you.

4. So the Earth orbits counterclockwise in reality, and clockwise in illusion?

5. Originally Posted by Devon Keogh
So the Earth orbits counterclockwise in reality, and clockwise in illusion?
Clockwise and counterclockwise depends on your point of view.

6. Originally Posted by Devon Keogh
So the Earth orbits counterclockwise in reality, and clockwise in illusion?
As AlexG pointed out, it depends on from where you are looking from. Flip things to the South pole perspective and the Earth obits clockwise( relative to the fixed stars). And its not a matter of illusion but a matter of reference frame. In my post the clockwise motion is relative to the surface of the Sun that you are standing on. In this frame, the stars are also traveling around you in a clockwise direction.

7. The sun has no magnetic north or south pole. Nor any significant constant rotation.

8. Originally Posted by Kerling
The sun has no magnetic north or south pole. Nor any significant constant rotation.
Huh? The sun has an overall magnetic field, it just flips directions every 11.5 years (on average). The field is complicated, but it is dominantly dipolar and hence has poles. For instance, see NASA's Cosmicopia -- Sun -- Sun's Magnetic Field . Moreover, if the sun didn't rotate, sunspots would not move across the suns's surface in a period of days from our point of view. The rotation is not as simple as that of a solid body, by any means, but it is there, and the total angular momentum of the sun is essentially constant.

9. Originally Posted by mvb
Originally Posted by Kerling
The sun has no magnetic north or south pole. Nor any significant constant rotation.
Huh? The sun has an overall magnetic field, it just flips directions every 11.5 years (on average). The field is complicated, but it is dominantly dipolar and hence has poles. For instance, see NASA's Cosmicopia -- Sun -- Sun's Magnetic Field . Moreover, if the sun didn't rotate, sunspots would not move across the suns's surface in a period of days from our point of view. The rotation is not as simple as that of a solid body, by any means, but it is there, and the total angular momentum of the sun is essentially constant.
When we look a bit more detailed into Magnetohydrodynamics (a course I can highly recommend to anyone) Magnetohydrodynamics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,
You see more clearly what I mean. In the case of an earth, the field lines are more straight and simple. Whereas in the Sun field lines can be complicated recombining almost at random . Of course the field lines have a direction, but I think saying that it has a North and South Pole like on earth is a giant over simplification. Also it has a reversal much more frequent then on earth. And during a reversal it is hardly appropriate to speak about a single north or south pole.

Also True there is a rotation, but not really a constant one like on earth. (with exception down the Tachocline). I made my reply to make sure that the sun wasn't viewed as like the earth. It is a giant ball of plasma revolving in it's fashion due to angular accretion at its creation. But I don't call an angular rotation which is different at every latitude constant. I call it variable. Sorry for the confusion.

10. Clockwise, its similar to the effect of observing planets in their orbits; them going from being counter-clockwise to clockwise temporarily as the earth orbits quicker around the sun and the position of the planets do not 'catch up' relatively speaking. You can download an application called 'Celestia' and fix your view on the north-pole of the sun and observe the orbits of the planets and also the other planets from earth for a first hand view of this effect.

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