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No, the Solar System (Still) Isn’t a Vortex

Animation of a “vortex” Solar System. (Credit: DjSadhu)

Like a bad penny (or a grossly inaccurate science meme) this tends to rear its shiny animated head online at least a couple of times a year, and it seems this year will be no exception. It’s a GIF showing the motions of the Sun and planets through space, trailing glowing lines (which they don’t but that’s just an illustration) in order to “prove” that the Solar System is really a vortex and vortices are cosmically significant and life is magic and ehrmagerd your mind should = blown. Or something like that.

Except, other than being a pretty animation, it’s simply not the case. The creator, DjSadhu, is much more metaphysicist than astrophysicist (really he’s a music and video producer) and ultimately what he was supporting is a reconstruction of the heliocentric model and an alternate path of the Sun around the galaxy itself, which is simply just wrong. Luckily an astrophysicist and an astronomer—Rhys Taylor and Phil Plait, respectively—were more than willing to offer their professional opinions on the matter when this all first appeared, the former writing a blog post in response to the latter’s. I was able to convince Rhys to let me share his post on Universe Today, and it offers a lot of entertaining insight as to why that little animation is not only misleading but the herald of a slew of inaccuracies.

Read the full debunking on Universe Today: Is the Solar System Really a Vortex?

Note: A year after the original article(s) were published Rhys shared another in which he commends Sadhu for openly communicating about the physics involved and actually creating a more accurate version of the animation—and without the unscientific woo. You can (and I suggest you do) read that post here. Unfortunately on the internet nothing ever really goes away, so the first GIF inevitably shows up every now and then. Remember all this the next time it does.

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About Jason Major

Jason is a Rhode Island-based graphic designer, photographer, nature lover, space exploration fanatic, and coffee addict. In no particular order.

Posted on March 6, 2017, in Features, Just for Fun, sun and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. thank you very much! I am from Ethiopia that means we are poor in all cases beside this as Ethiopian policy no one can send money out side, here what I want to ask is that any scholarship have registration fee and other but I am Ethiopian to do so please advise me some thing that help me through application process and help if you can. I am an African Ethiopian second year electrical and computer engineering student at country’s biggest and oldest university(16th from Africa) addis ababa university.

    looking forward your response

    petros[from ethiopia]

    On Mon, Mar 6, 2017 at 8:01 PM, Lights in the Dark wrote:

    > Jason Major posted: ” Like a bad penny (or a grossly inaccurate science > meme) this tends to rear its shiny animated head online at least a couple > of times a year, and it seems this year will be no exception. It’s a GIF > showing the motions of the Sun and planets through spa” >

    Like

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  1. Pingback: Look Into The Dark Eye of Saturn’s Southern Storm | Lights in the Dark

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