# Does The Sun Rotate

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Yes, the sun does spin, or rotate. Because it is a gas, it does not rotate like a solid. The sun actually spins faster at its equator than at its poles. There is no fixed rate of rotation of the Sun, on its own axis. At the equator, the Sun's rotation period is 25.05 days. This slows considerably as latitude increases, to 34.3 days at the poles. When viewed from the Earth, using sunspots as a reference, a time of roughly 27 days is observed. This increase is due to the change in position of the Earth in relation to the Sun over the period of observation time. This is referred to as the Synodic rotation period, whereas the former is the Sidereal rotation period. Now don't confuse this with modern techniques used to estimate the mass of an object by its spin. This kind of measurement is similar to relative dating techniques. The idea is that all things in our solar system are VERY old and that they have all been influenced by roughly the same gravitational forces and that they are mostly the same age. These estimates are used largely to guess the mass of asteroids and comets. They are just general guesses made when there is no other information available to help determine the mass. These guesses are more accurately formed as the objects pass by other massive objects like planets where the effect of the planets mass on the direction of the object and the speed of the object can lead to a much more accurate predictor of mass. In no case is an objects spin used in the equations to determine mass. Only the rate at which other objects spin around it. A more massive planet requires that a moon be traveling faster to keep it in orbit. Anything slower would "fall" into the planet. The heavier the planet, the faster the object needs to be to stay in orbit. Here is an example: On Earth, an object needs to be travelling at roughly 18,600 miles per hour to stay in orbit.