Helical Motion of Planets

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The Solar System is in motion around the Milky Way galaxy, while the planets in the Solar System are in orbiting motion around the sun. As a result, from an observer outside the Solar System, planets will appear to move in a helical motion. Someone created an animation of this helical motion; it went viral and had a lot of media attention.

Flat-Earthers noticed the animation and use it to reinforce their arguments. They claim if the animation is correct, then stars should appear moving & star trails should be impossible. In reality, the animation does not show us the vast distances to the stars.

In the animation, the outermost planet, Neptune, is depicted to orbit the sun once in about five seconds. In reality, Neptune goes around the sun once in 165 years, and therefore the animation is about one billion times faster than the real thing.

The animation does not show us the distance to the stars. The closest star, Proxima Centauri, is about 4500 times the orbital diameter of Neptune. In other words, if we take a US cent coin as the orbital diameter as Neptune, then the closest star is across the length of a football field.

It takes 192 Earth revolutions for the fastest-moving star to appear to shift the same distance the Moon takes in an hour. And it takes 230 million Earth revolutions for the solar system to go around the Milky Way once.