The coolest 3 minutes you will spend today:

make full screen

Information & research will be updated here:

No, this was not made with Universe Sandbox, but with 3DsMax.
Yes, I messed up two orbits.

Published on Aug 24, 2012

Category: Science, Weekend

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

13 Responses to “The Solar System is a Helical Vortex”

  1. daemon23 says:

    Kind of pretty, but the earth’s orbital plane is only 60 degrees off the galactic plane, not 90.

    The video is a little wacky, though. The orbital model is largely correct, local to the sun. Step out to being local to the galactic hub, and the motion of the planets appears more “vortexy”. Step out further to being local to some fixed extragalactic spatial point, and the path of the planets becomes more complex still. There’s nothing special or more correct about the “vortex” other than the animation’s creator had a bias towards it.

  2. gloeschi says:

    how do we know “our” speed? Is there a “fixed” reference point that we can use to measure our speed off? We earlier thought we were the center of the universe, since every object seemed to move away from us (only later realized that it seems like that from any point within an expanding medium).

  3. svarada says:

    All speed is relative

  4. nestingranch says:

    Dear comment moderator, don’t mean to be so tawdry as to post twice on the topic but then there’s this recent ilovecharts link and how could it not be added.

    oy, just call me Alvy Singer.

  5. contrabandista13 says:

    I’m confused man, where’s God…?

  6. MikeNY says:

    LOLZ, Contrabandista.

    However weak or moot the point about spirals or helices being “life”, I’ve always wondered if the stars aren’t somehow, in some sense, alive.


    So sue me.

  7. Frilton Miedman says:

    This concept is far more important than most people realize, also, hat tip to BR for a truly fascinating topic.

    I remember reading a piece of fiction in Omni magazine as a kid about a person who was able to pass objects from four dimensional space through our three dimensional universe.

    In the story, any object would appear as a sphere that appeared from nowhere, increased & decreased in diameter as it passed through, just as a pencils tip might appear passing through a two dimensional plane to a two dimensional observer – it would appear as a two dimensional object changing in size as it passed through.

    This all sounds irrelevant, until you began to play with the idea of what application a two dimensional object might have once the third dimension is applied to it.

    In the early 90′s I had an idea, by using this concept in a transmission you might be able to alter a single gears torque-to-speed ratio without having to switch gears.

    I drafted it on paper, then set to a patent search.

    It had already been patented in 1987 and used by Subaru, it’s now in use by several car makers, Saturn even used it in a commercial, woman applying lipstick, waiting for the next gear to switch while her hubby’s lead foot was in play and it never jumps.

    Granted, I was disappointed, but then I was also gratified that “my” idea worked.

  8. Frilton Miedman says:

    gloeschi Says:
    December 27th, 2012 at 2:44 pm
    “how do we know “our” speed? Is there a “fixed” reference point that we can use to measure our speed off? ”

    The speed of light is a constant, it can’t change.

    Light has it’s own version of the Doppler effect that sound has. It’s called redshift, you can gauge relative speeds for spacial objects using their redshift.

  9. Frilton Miedman says:

    Correction, Light’s speed can be decreased (not increased) in laboratories, but isn’t relative to redshift in nature.

  10. ravenchris says:

    alive and thinking…

  11. wibgip says:

    Pretty video.

    There is no “actual motion” of the planets nor any specific “speed of the sun”, only apparent motion, dependent on the frame of reference: where it is located and how it is moving relative to the planets and the sun. In this video the sun could be stationary with the planets revolving around it and the observer moving in space so as to cause the sun to appear to move in a straight line at 70,000 kph and the planets to taking a helical path. We could devise a path for observer motion that would cause the earth to appear to be the center of the system with the sun and planets zooming around it and we could then have it appear that the earth is moving in a straight line at 70,000 kph with a maze of objects flying around it. That might look even cooler!

    Quibble: I was taught that the planets “revolve” around the sun and “rotate” around their axes.

  12. gnomic says:

    Check this 10 dimentional flick out: