Based on science classes in school, books we’ve seen, images online, and even TV documentaries, most of us (laypersons) visualize the Solar System something like this or this.
We are taught the planets circle the sun in elliptical orbits at various distances and speeds, and for the most part the orbits are very nearly in the same flat, geometric plane (Pluto being the obvious exception) . Through life we end up carrying a visualization in our brain that the whole arrangement is situated in space in a flat orientation, like a dinner plate resting on a table – most likely due to all the images we’ve been exposed to that show it in that manner.
Animations, if you see any, always show the planets circling the sun in a flat plane such as this, this or this.
Even gorgeous orreries have been built for hundreds of years to show all this happening in a flat plane with the sun apparently stationary, such as this one in the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History.
As solid as this visualization exists in our brain, I don’t remember ever seeing anything about the next element of motion – does the solar system as a whole move in some way?If so, in what way and in which direction?
We’re told our sun resides in what is known as the Orion Arm of the Milky Way galaxy. I assumed we must move as the galaxy arm spirals and drags us around. I just never had a reason to research the specific details further.
I took up amateur astronomy shortly after the Hale-Bopp comet appearance in 1997. I bought a 6″ Dobsonian telescope, learned the night sky, and subscribed to Sky & Telescope magazine. I didn’t give much thought to the questions above as I cruised along using star charts to locate and view my various astronomical targets of planets, star clusters, nebula and galaxies. I still (as wrong as it may have been) had an instinctive visualization of our solar system orientation as flat dinner plate moving along as the galaxy rotated – meaning: all in the same relative geometric plane (our solar system oriented at 0o to the plane of the galaxy).
About three years ago (c. 2013) someone shared a video showing Nassim Haramein describing a different way to view the planets orbiting the sun as it moves through the galaxy. It looked something like this:
See also his related video here. He describes how the solar system (the sun and all its orbiting planets) move through the galaxy in a helical motion.
(Yes, I know Nassim Haramein is not a respected mainstream scientist. But here’s the bottom line: he showed me something orthodox science never showed me, which triggered my brain into “oh-wow” overdrive.)
I was taken aback – – – surely that couldn’t be right! But then, I thought about how we see the Milky Way in the sky and it’s tilted 60o to the ecliptic:
(source: Your Handle on the Night Sky(website) by Daniel Pope, August 16, 2009 [web page no longer available])
Then, and only then, did I realize the concept he proposed was indeed correct (or at least above and beyond what I instinctively visualized). If the solar system’s orbital plane was flat (0o) in the galactic plane, the Milky Way we see in the sky wouldnot be at an angle; it would be horizontal to the Earth’s orbit – which it isn’t. Holy cow! This was a sudden revelation to me!
My initial thoughts at the time:
Certainly Mr. Haramein can’t be the first person to notice and share this concept, right?
If not, why is it I never saw this before his video? He’s an outsider in terms of mainstream science – so how could this be?
I’ve always been a lover of science and astronomy, so why didn’t I already know this?
I should be able to find other, more standard, sources displaying the same concept if I search the internet and science/astronomy books, right?
I’ll dig and research to confirm this is already a well-known concept and I’m sure I’ll find out it’s simply something I wasn’t heretofore exposed to (or recall).
This should be fun. Little did I know. 🙂
So . . . . I did some digging; as much as I could do without yet visiting the local university library (soon to come). Google is extremely helpful in an initial query to find a LOT of valid information.
Searching all content, images, and videos, page after page after page, I barely found a thing! What the hell?!?
I found another source: a link to Phil Plait’s “Bad Astronomy” page criticizing someone else’s efforts to share the same concept. That person, DjSadhu (who’s a DJ, not a scientist), had his own “aha moment” and was inspired enough to create his own 3-D animation videos.
Unfortunately DjSadhu’s “aha” inspiration was from a very non-scientific paper by an apparent unorthodox, non-mainstream academic named Dr. Pallathadka Keshava Bhat. However unorthodox the source, DjSadhu’s exposure to this concept made him realize his instinctive visualization of the solar system as a flat plane (dinner plate model) moving horizontal with the galactic plane was incorrect.
Like me, he also couldn’t find any related information online so he created his own animation videos to share with those willing to see and hear his newfound revelation. These can be seen in two different videos (here and here) and their associated blog posts (here and here). Make sure you read the entertaining comments on the posts. 🙂
Unfortunately. . . . because his revelation was based on the unscientific ideas of Mr. Bhat, DjSadhu reaped a monstrous amount of criticism from the staid-and-true scientific community as well as their dedicated protectors, the skeptics, who pointed out numerous errancies with his representations.
He finally admitted to the various scientific errors in his first two videos, which included:
The planets are in the wrong order
It’s a helix, not a vortex
The sun is not like a comet and doesn’t have a tail
The heliocentric model is not “wrong”
The sun does not lead the planets
The angle with the Galactic plane is 60o not 90o
If you read all his posts and follow-up comments, DjSadhu’s overall intent was not the specific details of the science itself – – – his only reason for doing this was to share a revelation with others about the overall motionof the solar system orbital movement as it travels through the galaxy – the overarching concept of a corkscrew spiral. He more or less took an approach of, “Hey, look what I just found out!“
Based on the comments to his blog posts, Reddit, Phil Plait’s “Bad Astronomy” article, and other misc posts, he hit a home run with the general public. His videos went viral and laypersons shared the fact they had no idea this is how it worked – it wasn’t what they understood. The only people who claimed to hold this helical orbital travel concept as a de facto, well-known, fact were scientists – astrophysicists and astronomers. I have yet to read a comment from someone who is a layperson that claims to know this as self-evident.
Much to the chagrin of academia, it took a disc jockey (DJ) to illuminate the general populace to the revelatory nature of the solar system’s helical orbit around the galaxy. If this is so obvious to orthodox academia, why didn’t they proactively produce and share a similar educational tool for the general public? Why are they surprised this is such a revelation to laypersons?
What Actually is Known and not Known?
In Part 2 I’ll share sources of both critical and supporting articles, an analysis of claims that this knowledge was shared long before Mr. Haramein or Mr. Sadhu shared their findings, as well as incorrect diagrams from science sources who are supposed to inherently know this as self-evident (including NASA).
As with any sourcing on the internet, links can go ‘dead’ after a time. If you find the above-mentioned links no longer working, try the WayBack Machine: http://archive.org/web/web.php It’s sometimes a good way to pull up and view websites that are no longer active.