# Talk:Sun

It would be nice if you fellows would sign your comments with four tildes, like this ~~~~. This would not only identify you but would insert the date of your comment, so that us newbies would have some idea of how old these comments are.

Tango- You should sign your name with four tildes, rather than double-square-brackets like this [[Tango]]. If you click-on the square-bracketed Tango, you'll be directed to the article on the dance, tango.

RoyGoldsmith (talk) 13:46, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

## Pictures

Diagrams, pictures, in the public domain must be around?

An orrery would be nice... showing where planets are now, and where they are going to be in whatever year...

I said it "would be nice" not that it "defines reality", Tango. :-)

## Heliocentric and Other Views

### Energy Centre or Source

Saying the sun is "in the centre" doesn't mean much unless you say "centre of what". It is primarily the "energy centre" (we all care about that, and it's obvious whether you believe in Flat Earth or not), and only secondarily the "geometrical centre" (other than astrologers and space craft navigators, who cares about that?) which is a view that only arises when you actually have astronomy and astrology to care about it.

The energy centric view also makes way more sense from ecology, biology and economics, so, we should adopt it everywhere in the Simple English Wikipedia, if there's a choice of priorities.

"energy centre" is an idiom,
"energy source" could be a bit more neutral.
the definition of centre is the geometric one,
No, it isn't. For one thing the Sun is at only one locus of each elliptical orbit. For another at any given moment the sun is not in the exact middle of all the planets, comets, moons, etc., although over time it might be said to be at the mean centre of the masses, that is, at the gravitic centre. To claim gravitic = geometric is Newtonian, so that's one problem, you've just set F=MA, and assumed that you can look at the solar system "from the top" which presumably you haven't. This is just God's Eye View in another disguise. This kind of crap really has to be excised from all the Wikipedias, becuase, it's a model constructed from a lot of other models, assumptions and science fiction. It's not real in the sense that whipping a discus around your head is real.
anything else is metaphorical, or at best, a 2ndary definition. The Sun is the centre of the solar system in whatever way anyone who actually knows about the subject would want to think about it. I don't see much reason for involving Flat Earth in anything other than as an historical aside. No-one sensible belives the earth is flat, there is way to much evidence for the contrary. -- Tango
The point is, it's irrelevant in the energy definition of what is "central", but quite relevant in your geometric one. In other words to even SAY it is to trigger the wrong kind of fights, like to say that "evolution proves man is..." which science doesn't do.
Anyway, no one is advocating that theory, just pointing out the neutrality of an energy-centric definition of the sun's role in the Solar System, and the assumptions of the one based on say Kepler's model. George Berkeley successfully shredded both that and Newton's assumptions about optics in the 18th century, please let's not go through that again. Einstein eventually proved Berkeley right and Newton wrong. Kepler was wiser, he thought of the Earth as a single "round organism", and was quite careful not to say stupid things like "the Sun is at the centre and the Earth is on the edge" which seems to make generating energy everything, and actually using it creatively nothing... i.e. devaluing all life.
It's only these idiots who have their minds destroyed by the cult of physics that actually believe this nonsense about solar systems being like atoms, neither of which can really be "seen"... so let's not go there in an article where we simply don't have to.
Are you saying that people who think the sun is in the centre, rather than the earth, are idiots?
I didn't say that. It's more correct to say that those who think this actually matters, are idiots. It is distracting from what actually matters about the Sun, to put this silly geometry in people's minds, instead of it's role in the ecology of Earth. i.e. the central ROLE of the Sun in life as an ENERGY SOURCE matters, but central POSITION in orbits really doesn't matter: Einstein would be the first to tell you that Earth-centric or Sun-centric or Milky-Way-core-centric views of the sky are all equally legitimate in relativity. And, we human observers, are in fact Earth-centric. Which is something that the Pope understood that Galileo didn't. The book Galileo's Mistake goes into this in some detail.
The solar system isn't exactly like an atom, no, that is just a simplified model, for a start atoms are predicted by modern theories to not have definite formations, so the solar system can't be like them, because they aren't like anything,
That's exactly right. In fact it should be in the article on solar system...
the model is usually used the other way, anyway, because almost everyone knows what the solar system is like, so use that to explain atoms. -- Tango
No, they don't know "what the solar system is like", they know some geometric things about it, and that the sun provides daylight. But we don't even know if there's any life elsewhere, so our knowledge of the system is limited. So what should be said, in solar system/Sol system not Sun, is that the idea that the solar system is "like one big atom" is just bogus.
It should also say that no one human has ever actually been in a position to actually look at the solar system as a whole to take any one 'big picture' of it, so what is known about it has been cobbled together by many different people over a long time, using much different equipment. This is quite different from the view of the spherical Earth which has been photographed from the moon, by real people, who came back to tell us that they did that. Now, some people don't believe *that*, which probably is worth saying in line line, and linking it to conspiracy theory. But in the case of the solar system as a whole, it's a lot more credible to say that there are conspiracies hiding things (a lot of people think pictures of artificial structures on Mars were hidden, and the UN found this credible enough to hear a few talks on it a few years ago). Anyway, this is much more an issue of epistemology than astronomy. But it's quite important to say that human cognition is actually what we are abstracting/combining to create any given scientific theory. Claims that "X is like Y" not disciplined by this are nonsensical and lead idiots into conclusions that simply can't be justified... while this is more common in economics than in astronomy, it still happens in astronomy surprisingly often.

### Geometric Model

What "matters" and what doesn't all depends on what you are actually talking about. If you are talking about the Sun in its place in the solar system, what that place is matters a lot, if you are talking about how the sun effects life, then the energy view of it matters more. Nothing in science is definate, anyone who knows what science actually is knows that, but the simple idea of the solar system with the sun in the centre, and planets going around it in slightly off circles, is close enough to the truth as far as we can tell, that it doesn't matter. The atom analogy isn't "bogus" it is just extremely simplified. Astrophysics, relativity, quantum mechanics, etc. is all extremely complex, so to explain it to the lay person we have to simplify things, and considering this is the simple wikipedia, you should understand that. Just because no one has actually seen it doesn't mean there is any real doubt. As i just said, nothing is definate, but it is quite close. You can look through telescopes and do some basic calcualations and long term observations and come up with a fairly good model of the solar system. And for that matter, looking at the earth from the moon only shows you a circle, you can't actually see it as round, because our sight is 2D, you have to work out that it is round from fairly obvious observations. -- Tango

I hear what you're saying, but if it's a choice between two simple ways to say something, and one actually leads into lots of other useful things to say (like the question of the sun as the first and most basic part of ecology as the source of energy) versus something which is inexact (like the "centre", which is not technically correct as really the sun is at one locus of an ellipse, and is different distances away at different times of year) we should err in favour of the way that leads to other things useful to say. It is also not wrong to introduce ideas like "locus of an ellipse" which can be explained at some point by a diagram. You could say "roughly in the centre" and not be wrong geometrically, but, again, you run into this relativity thing that is that one gravity well is really not "in the centre" and all others are not really "around it". The Earth-Moon-Sun system for instance is all involved in the day light, tide, moonlight cycle that we all know. If there were really any one "centre" it wouldn't work like that... different aspects of it are "central" for different questions, for instance, the Moon is central to the tides and when you think about that system you have to put the Earth "at the centre" to understand.
And, there are comets that range out also a very long distance... it's hard to clearly say that the sun is at the centre of those orbits... more like a very large ellipse with perturbations, but they are clearly part of the Solar System.
So, I think the issue of the sun "being at the centre" of a system consisting only of planets and the sun in the way that the early Muslim astronomers, Copernicus and Galileo understood it, is kind of an obsolete idea now that we should really try to abandon.
It isn't universal either. The Inca realized that the Milky Way was much more central, and the Egyptian and Babylonian astronomers understood stellar precession and thus the orbit of the Earth around the Milky Way itself.
I think both ideas need to be mentioned, because, as i said, it all depends on what you are talking about at the time. Comets are the same as planets, the sun is in one of the loci of their orbits, its just that the planets orbits are almost circular, so the two loci are almost in the same place, so the sun is roughly central, with comets it is still in one locus, its just that that locus is nowhere near the middle. The milky way isn't central, the center of the milky way is central. The milky way is either the entire galaxy, or the strip of stars in the sky that is in fact the main plane of the galaxy, it all depends on what you are talking about again. I know the sun being central is only a very rough model, but it is good enough for a first explanation. -- Tango
But we are not only writing first explanations here, but also a basis for translation into other languages where presumably there are perfectly useful words for things like "locus of an ellipse".
We have a duty to make sure that Our Sun, Our Moon, Our Solar System, Our Galaxy and Our Universe are explained as part of an interconnected system as accurately as possible with all their cycles and orbits and the impacts of these as we understand them. For instance you can't really understand asteroid risk if you don't accept that every 30 Million years the Earth/Sol system is moving through an asteroid-intensive region... and that the fossil record shows that at these times a lot of species tend to get wiped. And even just understanding the tide and seasonable variations in strength of sunlight (it is actually stronger in winter in the Northern Hemisphere as that is when the Earth is closest to the Sun) requires that we avoid giving wrong impressions about this "centre" and state more exactly the characteristics of the actual real orbit.
A reading is needed for this. We need the simple explanations such as i have been explaining, and then later on, or even on a different page we need more information. I'm all in favour of giving as much info as possible, but we need to start simple. The simple view of the tides is that the Earth is in the center of the Earth-Moon system, and completely ignore the sun. This doesn't work with spring tides, but it explains the simple version. Then on a separate page about tides we can explain how the sun effects this (with diagrams hopefully). The 30 million year thing is the centre of the galaxy being in the centre of the CentreOfGalaxy-Sun system, and ignoring the planets etc. You can include them if you want really accruate results, but the difference is tiny. We should probably explain the 3-Body Problem which says how it is impossible (IIRC) to get exact results for the interactions of more than 2 masses, you have to start with the 2 biggest to get a rough idea and then add each other one on to get more accruate results, if you need them. -- Tango

Don't other planets move round our sun and not other stars as stated? I think this should be corrected.

You may correct it yourself. Majorly (hot!) 19:39, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

## Looking at the Sun

In other news, don't eat dirt.VmZH88AZQnCjhT40 (talk) 22:51, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

## Picture of sun

I think the picture of the sun as viewed from earth should be cropped to just the sun. Panda Bear 13:13, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

I made some changes. I moved some sentences around into paragraphs that talked about the same ideas. I also cleaned up some typing mistakes and added some information about looking at the sun. The last thing I did was removed some things that were not true or were not about the Sun. For example, I removed a sentence about whether or not there will be life on Earth when the Sun turns into a red giant because we don't know what life will be like in the future and it isn't really something that has to do with the Sun.