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The Ecliptic and the Galactic Planes

  1. May 4, 2013 #1
    I heard recently that the ecliptic is about 60 degrees out of alignment with the galactic plane, and was tilted up in the "front". Is that true?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 5, 2013 #2


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    It is tilted about that much.
    I'm not sure what "in the front" means, but the plane of the ecliptic is tilted roughly towards the direction of the solar system's orbital motion around the galaxy.
    Try a planetarium software(e.g., Celestia http://www.shatters.net/celestia/ ) to help you visualise it, or go out at night where you can see the band of the Milky Way and compare its position on the sky with that of the ecliptic.
  4. May 6, 2013 #3

    AH! So THAT is why the Milky Way is tilted in the sky! Wow. I never really thought about that. I guess I assumed that it had to do with the tilt of the earth's axis, but I never really thought about it.

    Is anybody aware of a good animation of the planets circling the sun as the sun moves around the galactic center, similar to the inaccurate one at ?
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  5. May 6, 2013 #4


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    You might want to remove the link to that video. Guy is a crackpot.

    In this context, the tilt of the axis is responsible for the ecliptic(i.e., the zodiacal signs) being tilted away from the horizon.

    I don't know of any such animations off the top of me head. What I do know is that it's nothing special. It's like watching the moons of Uranus go around the planet as it goes around the Sun.
  6. May 6, 2013 #5
    Indeed he is, and the video portrays planetary motion that has no correlation to reality.

    But damn, it sure looks nice! It is too bad that such a talented animator did not do things accurately.

    So does anybody know of a nice animation, on par with the crackpot animation, that shows the planets circling the sun as the sun circles the galactic center?
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