Our nearest star, the Sun, seems to move, rising and setting. But most people think of it as fixed at the center of our solar system as Earth and the other planets orbit around it.  We have this model in our head from a textbook or animation of them clustered like a children’s crib mobile.

Our Sun is moving. Everything in space moves. It circumnavigates the Milky Way galaxy that is made up of several hundred billion stars.

Numbers for calculating the sun’s journey aren’t very exact.  The Milky Way has a diameter of about 100,000 light-years. Can you imagine that? I can’t.

The Sun is traveling through the galaxy at about 140 miles per second. At that equally unimaginable speed, it would take about 230 million years for the sun to complete one circuit of the galaxy.

solarsystem hand

That’s what I am trying grasp today. A cosmic year – the length of the sun’s orbit around the Milky Way’s center

Where is the sun headed on this incredible journey? Astronomers say that our sun (and Earth and our little family of planets) are moving toward the star Vega and away from that brightest star, Sirius.

Poor Sun. It doesn’t even have a proper name like the other stars. Capitalize Sun to show some respect.

I can see Vega appearing over the northwest horizon in the early evening.  I look at it and then at Sirius towards the southeast during winter.

I try to imagine the path between them. It runs through me, but it is like imagining infinity.

Infinity

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