Letters | Science News

Real Science. Real News.

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.

Letters to the Editor


11:51am, August 24, 2012

Sun’s speed unclear
Sun’s speed unclear
In “Sun’s shock wave goes missing” (SN: 6/16/12, p. 17), Nadia Drake reports the speed of the sun through space at 83,500 kilometers per hour, or roughly 11,000 km/h slower than previously thought. Yet in the same issue (“At home in the universe,” p. 22), Alexandra Witze reports the speed of the sun relative to galactic rotation as 220 kilometers per second. My first move was to convert Drake’s speed to 23.2 kilometers per second. What is going on here?
Tom Knost, Mills River, N.C.

The apparent conflict in the sun’s speed arises from the fact that different frames of reference are involved. My story about galactic rotation reports on new measurements of how quickly the sun orbits the galactic center, like a dot on a phonograph record circling around and around as the record plays. Nadia

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content