Solar system forms "vortex" as it moves through space

You can stop it at 2m in, when "Why is this important?" appears on-screen.

Update: turns out this animated model of the solar system is itself substantially bullshit. Oh well.


  1. This is total pseudo-science nonsense by someone who doesn’t understand that to describe motion or speed it has to be relative to a frame of reference.

    In a solar system frame of reference the planets orbit the sun. In a milky way frame the solar system frame has some motion through space. Saying the sun drags behind the planets is as nonsensical as saying the planets drag the sun around.

  2. Actually, the solar orbital plane is offset by something like 60 deg to the galactic plane, not the head-on path as portrayed here, as I understand it.

    1. I was wondering about that as well. Are we moving in the direction of the north star (galacticly speaking)? From the sun’s perspective, how far off from the sun’s north pole is our direction of travel? Do the planets really go clockwise?
       The science may be crap, but the visualization does prompt interesting questions.

      1. The Sun’s motion relative to the LSR (Local Standard of Rest), known as the “solar apex”, is in the direction of Hercules.  For those familiar with celestial coordinates, it’s about RA = 18.5 h, DEC = +30.  The north ecliptic pole (NEP), which is roughly perpendicular to the planets’ orbits, is 36.5 degrees north of that, so the orbits will be tilted relative to the Sun’s motion by that amount.

        The Sun’s north pole is roughly aligned with theNEP.  The planets’ orbital motions are all prograde, so looking from the Sun’s south pole towards its north pole the motion would appear to be clockwise.None of this is related to the North Star, since that has to do with the Earth’s north pole.  However, since the earth’s pole precesses it goes through a series of north stars; in about AD 13 700 the North Star will be Vega, which is particularly close to the solar apex.  Purely coincidence, but interesting nonetheless.

        It should go without saying that the text that accompanies the video is drivel.

  3. This video is gorgeous.  Sure, it’s a conflation of science and woo, but it’s pretty.  Too bad the scale is all messed up; this might be more interesting if the numbers were accurate.

    Also, I guess that about wraps it up for my time-travel fantasies.

  4. Hooray for pseudoscience!

    First thing in the video:

    The old heliocentric model of our solar system […] is not only boring, but also incorrect.

    Bullshit. That’s like saying the speedometer in your car is wrong because – open your eyes man! – the Earth is actually hurling through space at some 30 km/s! Stupid engineers, don’t even know what’s what …

    This is borderline crackpottery, especially if you read the uploader’s comments on Youtube. Thank you, Boing Boing, for lending credence to this claptrap.

    1. Thank you, Boing Boing, for lending credence to this claptrap.

      Don’t whine.  Instead, read the post again.  Especially this part: “You can stop it at 2m…”.  That would be after the amusing bit, and before the woowoo bit.  Any lending of credence has been erroneously inferred, not actually implied.

      1. ‘You can stop it at 2m’ means ‘no need to stop it before 2m’, effectively endorsing the first two minutes. Also note how I made no reference to the part we were told to ignore.

  5. “the heliocentric model of the solar system is wrong”

    errmmmmmm……how about “no”?

    A model is, by definition, a simplification of the real world (the definition: a simplified description, especially a mathematical one, of a system or process, to assist calculations and predictions)
    One simplification is that we use the sun as the reference point for BASIC models. Anyone with a basic understanding will know that the motion will look very different based on the reference point. This video doesn’t even show half of the complexity of the actual motion (using a fixed point in space for reference) as there is expansion, orbit around the galactic core, and wobbles and wibbles all over the place. I know this, and don’t really know much about this sort of thing at all..

    Beautiful visualisation, though, and nice to see this motion in this way (even if it isn’t perfectly accurate. Can somebody please do a series of visualisations that ARE accurate and shows progressively more complex models of motion? Starting from the earth rotating on its axis, to the orbit around the sun, to the whole heliocentric model, to the sun moving “north” and the spiral motion described by all that, to the orbit around our galaxy…and so forth. That could be spctacular!)

    1. Agreed! I have always wanted to see an animation starting with planetary motion, followed by the motion of the solar system around the galaxy, the galaxy around our local group, the local group around the Virgo supercluster, and finally the supercluster motion itself.

      I’ve often wondered what the absolute speed of our planet is in relation to some imaginary fixed point in the universe but as far as I can tell, the ~1.8 billion MPH estimates are based on some petty heavy guess work.

  6. There is so much woo in this that it is basically a waste of CPU cycles. Both in its generation and for me watching it.

  7. Pretty video and cool soundtrack, but you don’t even have to read this guy’s stoned-freshman, dude-listen-I-just-had-this-amazing-insight-no-really-dude-dude comments to realize that it’s bogus.

  8. My next car better have a speedometer that uses the center of the universe as its reference point, or I am going to be pissed. 

    1. You don’t want that.  It would always be pegged at 70,000 kph, so you would get speeding tickets even while parked.

  9. The sun is round like a soccer ball so that means the solar system and soccer are related too!  Groovy man

  10. The speed of the sun is arbitary depending on your reference frame. I was taught at University that there is not an absolute reference frame in space so the heliocentric model he is calling “wrong” is EXACTLY as wrong as his model. Whats his beef? 

    1. Well you can use the center point of the galaxy as your frame of reference, especially for something like rotational velocity.

  11. The elliptic plane of our solar system is not normal to the motion of the sun relative to the galactic plane, therefore the whole imagery is bunk, currently off by 60 degrees. The 70K/hr is w.r.t the galaxy center but he claims he’s ignoring it. By his reasoning the earth’s movement around the sun would be leading with the north pole instead of somewhere near the equator.

  12. Hmm, so Gurren Lagann was true after all. I think we should petition the White House to prepare a defense against the imminent attack by the Antispirals.

  13. Amused by the haters…  Rob has offended against their faith!  Perhaps we should burn him at the stake for heresy, that’d be totally scientific I bet.

    But I suggest we call the 2:00 mark the “Schauberger point” of this video, after Viktor Schauberger.  That’s where a legitimate interest in vortex phenomena (which are in fact fascinating) spirals off into highly dubious mysticism.

  14. Please forgive my ignorance, but I don’t understand what the woowoo is.They’re not claiming magic or anything. I saw this as a sort of layman’s animation explaining the larger movements of the universe, like something you might see on a PBS science special. Totally accurate? No, but it illustrates the point that the sun is not static. 

    1. Yes, but it does so sloppily (and dismissively). This makes it sound like a vortex motion is somehow fundamentally different from a rotation, while calling the heliocentric model “incorrect”. Add to that the fact that the motion is animated incorrectly, and there is plenty to be annoyed at.

      It’s the equivalent of explaining sexual reproduction as the process of “infecting” a female “egg” with a male “virus”, causing the resulting “fetus” to “mutate” into human form. That’s not simplified, it’s a misleading, incompetently presented jumble. (Yes, my example is worse than the (first part of the) video. But subtlety is hard.)

  15. I fail to see the point this video is trying to make.  If it wants to claim the model of the planets circling the sun in a disk is wrong, then this video itself is also wrong as it shows the sun travelling in a straight line.  The sun itself is orbiting the supermassive black hole at the center of the milky way, and the milky way itself is shooting through space.  So this video is just as wrong as what they decry, for the exact same reasons.

  16. Typical scientism! Always falling back on the facts. You guys are so squared, man. It’s life, maaaan. I found mad vortices in my Jello the other day. 

  17. Stupid strikes, tragic victims of video bemoan loss of IQ for watching, senate debates regulating youtube.

  18.  So, I know everyone here knows this, but posting it in the Youtube comments seemed futile.

    The video’s artist claims in the video and elaborates on the blog and in the comments that this model is not just a different viewpoint, but actually makes different predictions about the motion of the planets.

    In one Youtube comment, the artist says “The heliocentric model and the helical model are both hypotheses.” That’s true, and excellent news — science to the rescue here. If the two models make different predictions, all we need to do is use each one to make a prediction about future observations the planets, and then see which is right.

    Me, I’m placing my money on the model developed to match  hundreds of years of observed data and which we routinely use to land robots on other planets.

  19. Rob, you’re grounded.  Maggie, please revoke Rob’s “science” posting privileges for one week.

    We were all having fun laughing at that silly creationist textbook in Cory’s post today until we scrolled down and saw this.  Now we’re just sad.  So sad.

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