(Submitted January 08, 1997)
Does the Sun rotate? Are we seeing the same face of the Sun all the time?
Yes, the Sun
does rotate. We can observe this by observing
sunspots. All sunspots move across the face of the Sun.
This motion is part of the general rotation of the Sun
on its axis. Observations also indicate that the Sun does
not rotate as a solid body, but it spins differentially.
That means that it rotates faster at the equator of the Sun and slower
at its poles. (The gas giants Jupiter and Saturn also have
differential rotation.) The movements of the sunspots
indicate that the Sun rotates once every 27 days at the
equator, but only once in 31 days at the poles.
for Imagine the Universe!
Questions on this topic are no longer responded to by the "Ask an Astrophysicist" service. See http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/ask_an_astronomer.html
for help on other astronomy Q&A services.