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You may have learned that the Moon goes around the Earth and the Earth goes around the Sun. But that’s not quite right. Strictly speaking, the Moon and Earth orbit each other.The barycenter is the point in space around which two objects orbit. For the Moon and Earth, that point is about 1000 miles (1700 km) beneath your feet, or about three-quarters of the way from the Earth’s center to its surface. That means the Earth actually wobbles around a point deep in its interior, pulled around by the Moon.The same thing happens for the Sun and all the planets. Usually we think of the Sun sitting still in the center of the solar system while the planets whiz around. But, in reality, the Sun is wobbling too, orbiting the barycenter of the solar system. Right now, that point is about halfway between the Sun’s center and its surface. But because all eight planets are constantly in motion, the solar system’s barycenter wanders over time. In 2023, it will be way above the Sun’s surface! Later in 2030, it will return to a point closer to the sun's center.

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Fecha publicación: 12.5.2016

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