Does the Coriolis Effect From the Milky Way Rotation Influence the Orbits of Planets in our Solar System?14 Jan 2016, 21:16 UTC
Question: I read that our solar system orbits the center of the Milky Way Galaxy and am wondering if orbital direction of the planets was initially influenced by the Coriolis effect. — Jack
Answer: Two comments to your question. First, the net orbital angular momentum axis of the Sun or the Solar System turns out not to be aligned with the “spin axis” of our Milky Way galaxy. The plane of the disk of our Solar System is inclined by an angle of about 63 degrees relative to the plane of the Milky Way within which our Solar System resides. Second, the Coriolis effect, sometimes referred to as a “fictitious force”, refers to motion which is really in a straight line, but which appears to be curved when viewed from a reference frame that is accelerating (i.e. rotating). So, if you are in a rotating disk, like our Solar System, you experience a Coriolis force, but if you step away from our Solar System and look at it from a point that is not accelerating, you would see planets in motion but with no Coriolis effect.