Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How does the movement of stars compare to the movement of planets

  1. Sep 20, 2007 #1
    how does the movement of stars compare to the movement of planets
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 20, 2007 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Not sure what you mean.
    If you mean the apparent position ( where they ae in the sky) stars don't move very much - they are so far away that they appear stationary.
    The planets are moving around the sun, they are much closer than the stars and so move accross them.
  4. Sep 24, 2007 #3
    Oddly enough, most stars in the galaxy however near or far from the center are moving at 210-240 km/s relative to the center. The Earth moves at just under 30 km/s relative to the Sun, while Mercury moves at 48 km/s. And just for good measure, the Andromeda galaxy is heading at us at 118 km/s (radial velocity), but the tangential velocity is a little bit uncertain. (see https://www.physicsforums.com/archive/index.php/t-64107.html). Oh, and the speed of light is as always 300,000 km/s.
  5. Sep 24, 2007 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    To quote the famous cosmologist Eric Idle:

    The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
    Are moving at a million miles a day
    In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
    Of the galaxy we call the "Milky Way".

    That's why I said 'apparent motion'
  6. Sep 29, 2007 #5
    No. stars doesn't rotate just like planets do. normally planets revolve around stars instead.
  7. Sep 29, 2007 #6


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Stars rotate just like planets - the sun's day is 609 hours or 25 earth days long.
    The sun ( and all the planets around it ) orbits the centre of our galaxy, taking around 250 million years an orbit.
    Then our galaxy including all the stars and planets in it are moving in the local group of galaixies at even higher velocities.
  8. Jul 24, 2008 #7
    In just terms of casual observation the planets move daily while the stars appear fixed in place. Several 'near by' stars do move quickly enough to be noticed with careful observation. A couple of the fastest movers are Arcturus and Barnard's Star.
  9. Aug 10, 2008 #8
    One more note about the difference between the apparent position of stars vs. planets is that a planet can appear to change the direction it's going and then go backwards and then forwards again. As far as I know a star can't do this, except for maybe the tiny wobble of a binary star which wouln't have been observed by the naked eye.
  10. Aug 10, 2008 #9


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    So your point would be?
  11. Aug 13, 2008 #10
    What causes the local group to move? I mean, in a galaxy there's a black hole in the center that causes the stars to orbit around it, but in a cluster of galaxies, is there anything that can cause them to move so fast?
  12. Aug 13, 2008 #11


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Actually, the seasonal movement of the Earth around the Sun causes nearby stars to shift apparent position. This is called parallax, and it is the only direct means of measuring the distance to objects outside our solar system. This indeed makes the apparent positions of nearby stars wobble back and forth, though the variations are small and require careful observation and measurement.
  13. Aug 13, 2008 #12
    Yes, each galaxy exerts gravitational force on every other galaxy in the local group, just like the supermassive black hole in the center of our own galaxy that causes the stars to orbit around it. Also, a cluster of galaxies can be gravitationally attracted to other galaxy clusters, which causes it to move across space if space isn't expanding too fast.
  14. Aug 14, 2008 #13
    Ok thanks for clarifying. Haha I was under the impression that the galaxies didn't move...:rolleyes:
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook