Take the 2-minute tour ×
Astronomy Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for astronomers and astrophysicists. It's 100% free, no registration required.

How far is the Earth/Sun above/below the galactic plane, and is it heading toward/away from it? We know the Sun is orbiting the galactic center every 225 million years. But how far are we from the galactic plane, and is the inclination of the plane of the Sun's orbit around the galactic center, as compared to the galactic plane, known?

Direction of Sun's motion

According to this drawing

Direction of Sun's motion

the Sun is traveling approximately in the ecliptic plane. However, the ecliptic plane is steeply inclined to the galactic plane, so if this drawing is correct (from voyager.jpl.nasa.gov) then this would mean the plane of the Sun's orbit around the galactic center is also quite inclined. And thus my question, what is the distance to the galactic plane, are we heading toward/away from it, and what is the inclination of the orbital plane of our Sun/solar system to the galactic plane? 3 questions I guess.

share|improve this question
add comment

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

According to this article, we are somewhere between 75 and 101 light years above the plane and getting closer. So we won't be crossing it for quite some time.


This page has references to the research in regards to the calculations.


share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.