What evidence can prove the planet actually orbits the sun?originally showed up on Quora: the ar to gain and also share knowledge, empowering world to learn from others and far better understand the world.

You are watching: According to general relativity, why does earth orbit the sun?


Answer by Richard Muller, Professor that Physics in ~ UC Berkeley, author of Now, The Physics that Time, top top Quora:

According to the general theory the relativity, the sunlight does orbit the Earth. And the earth orbits the Sun. And they both orbit together around a ar in between. And both the Sun and the earth are orbiting the Moon.


General relativity enables the usage of any type of coordinate system. Pick a system in which the center of the planet is fixed; indeed, it deserve to be a system in i m sorry the planet is not also rotating around its axis. Climate you can derive all the equations of activity in this system. In this system, the sun is moving, not the Earth.

Of course, that is a an extremely ponderous approach, and also although the equations will certainly work, in principle, they will certainly be an extremely awkward and tricky. For this reason scientists never ever use them.

Why perform we use a mechanism in i beg your pardon the sunlight is at remainder (or in uniform motion)? because then the equations room simple, intuitive, and (relatively) easy to solve. That is often the trick in physics: find a coordinate device in i m sorry the equations of movement are so straightforward that you deserve to guess the ideal answer.

There is an irony here. The old Ptolemaic device in which the planets orbit the earth in cycles and epicyles was in reality a valid approach. We say the the orbits space elliptical, however an ellipse is one epicycle; it can be generated by relocating a circle around another circle. Therefore the transformation of Copernicus was actually a transformation in finding a simpler way to depict the motion, no a much more correct way. But the Copernican approach permitted Newton to derive a very basic law the gravity. The glory that physics (as Feynman once said) is that us can define a phenomenon in together a way that the prize is evident. (Feynman failed only with the connection in between spin and statistics.)


So it is no wrong come say the the sun orbits the Earth. It just leads to much more complex equations that provide you no good intuition because that the actions of gravity.

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