About that Heliocentric thing…

This is waaaaay too cool not to share about your planet’s yellow Sun.

And then there is this.

A good thought project for Lent. As you watch the animation, as you watch the little dot planets whirl about the Sun, and the Sun on the galactic plane go zooming along in its own snaky path, consider how many times you see the planets circle the Sun and then consider the span of your life…

… after which you are going before the Judge, through whom all things came into being.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. arga says:

    Sorry father but this is truly junk science. See Slate’s Phil Plait take it apart.

  2. robtbrown says:


    Could you provide a link?

  3. Andrew says:


    Thank you. I read the entire text where Phil Plait highlights many errors behind this model. I wasn’t surprised since the video made unsubstantiated and contradictory claims that raised all sorts of questions. But I have to disagree with Phil Plait’s following comment:

    “It’s a very pretty video with compelling music …”

    Make that: “with atrocious music”.

  4. iamlucky13 says:

    The paths traced through space in the animation or more or less accurate, and cool to look at, but effectively meaningless.

    The suggestion that this constitutes a vortex, and that a vortex has any greater significance than myriad other physical phenomena, however, is pure new age nonsense. I didn’t continue clicking through his videos to see if started talking about the role of magical crystals, but I’d be surprised if he didn’t.

  5. Ahh someone beat me to the punch to post the Slate article.

  6. jflare says:

    I followed the link to Mr. Plait’s article; it told me exceedingly little of substance.
    I have little doubt that Mr. Plait’s critiques are mathematically and astronomically accurate, which I expect from an astronomer. Unfortunately, I don’t expect most people will be terribly worried about the concerns he raises. I suspect the average person will care much about the technicalities of wobble, helical motion, and whatnot, about as much as most non-meteorology types typically care about details of how Coriolis force actually works..or not.
    Put simply, his points are well taken, but not relevant. If anything, he missed the wider point.

    Most of us remember learning about the Solar System being the Sun and the planets. We likely have all seen the depiction of everything sitting in line in space. Some of us have seen a more accurate rendering where all the planets are shown somewhat more to scale than otherwise, and they’re in the proper places in their proper orbits.
    These videos aimed to show us how all that works in relation to the Milky Way galaxy. If they’re not perfect in some ways, they’re not intended to be such.

    Let’s enjoy them for what they are.
    I thought the presentation quite good overall.

    Andrew, sorry to say it, but the music used for these was about as good as any other I’ve come across.

  7. gramma10 says:

    Oh wow, Fr. Z! You are a man after my own heart! smiles! I love this stuff. I love the solar system and universe and God’s awesome Creation. God is NOT boring. He is full of surprise and amazement. The Holy Spirit is action-movement.

    What you shared, correct or incorrect leads me to now share this. Maybe you know it, but it is worth being reminded of.
    Link to see first. . . .

    (Golden Ratio, Phi, 1.618 Divine Proportion anf Fibonacci Sequence.. in design, markets, math, geometry, LIFE, Arhetecture. . . .music etc.)

    DNA is called the “molecule of life” -“basis of life on earth”. I ask you now, Who created Life. . Who IS Life itself? DNA is a double helix spiral.

    Check out the Golden Mean, Ratio and the Divine Proportion. It is everywhere. SPIRALS.
    It is soooo God! He wants us to see this!

    Google the ‘Miraculous DNA Double Helix… St. Joseph Staircase in Sante Fe NM’.
    A Catholic Jew blogger notices something else too- see link, aronbengilad.blogspot.com

    It is God’s signature in all things. . . His stamp in creation. His Creation declares His glory!

    What you showed us are spirals. . .they may not be exact but I believe they must be telling us something anyway. Look up ‘Fibonacci’ spiral, sequence in google images. Awesome images.


    I have been reading about this for awhile. It fascinates me and causes me more awe for God, and His perfect design.

    I feel as if I am finding gems as I search for God who we can see the evidence of— all over the place!

    There is waay more to find. Just sharing a bit. I love to research and delve deeply. So these are some cool things I am sharing.

    I think that most anything that is not boring and rather is beautiful, magnificent and good must be of God. He, after all created everything “good”. . .He said so. We humans mess things up. Here is a favorite scripture passage of mine–>

    Philippians 4:8 “Finally, beloved, whatever is true,whatever is honorable,whatever is just, whatever is pure,whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (NRSV)


  8. The Masked Chicken says:


    Dr. Phil Plait is a well-known science debunker (although, as far as I have read about him, an atheist). His point about the distinction between a helix and a vortex is quite correct and not trivial. They imply different physical and mathematical phenomena of a continuum. His critique references Bhat’s book, which I haven’t seen (I am familiar with a different Bhat in my fields of research), but connecting it with the video means that the videos are accidentally correct in certain details, but junk science. I, personally, do not want to present junk science to the general public, no matter how compelling the pictures are, because I, like Plait, have a teaching obligation to fulfill. I suppose one might find the beauty of the video a cause for devotion to God, and in that sense, they might be useful, but knowing the truth is important, as well.


    The golden ratio is everywhere in nature. The Fibonacci series (Italian, 13th-century Catholic mathematician) is famous and has so much interesting math behind it that I could spend an entire semester teaching about it. The Fibonacci series ratio (n+1)/n approaches the golden ratio in the limit. There is a whole journal devoted to the Fibonacci series, called, The Fibonacci Quarterly. You can download all issues from Vol. 1, starting in 1963, to the present (excluding the last five volumes) for free, from here:


    Knock your socks off. The early issues are not bad, in terms of math. More modern issues are very technical.

    The Chicken

  9. gramma10 says:

    Oh thank you to the masked Chicken!
    Would love to go to a class on it!
    I will check the link though.
    Really, God is so awesome!
    All this enhances my faith! My mind can’t comprehend it all but I love it! ????

  10. jflare says:

    I well understand your point about providing the material in a manner that teaches correctly about the subject matter. In that sense, I understand your frustrations with possible junk science being presented. Certainly the video can be taken to present precise astronomical science, which it does fairly poorly.
    On the other hand, I’m reminded of an occasion when I tried teaching some Boy Scouts about weather; I included some detail that I thought important. I learned later that one of the boys quit taking the badge because I was too technical. I meant to convey how COOL all this information was; I wound up giving too much that the kids didn’t really need to know that badly.

    So too do I consider these videos.
    I’m not suggesting that the video presented would be good for teaching astronomy, unless it’d be to demonstrate how the video’s creator did poorly with many matters important to astronomers. I took a calc-based astronomy course during my last year of college, so I understood the content of the critique.
    I AM suggesting that, as I watched the video, I didn’t worry very much about those details, but was awestruck by the majesty and beauty of the created universe.

    We can make a decent case for it being “junk science” and I might’ve been prickly about having the details depicted correctly if I had made it. Even so, it’s not so badly in error that I can’t enjoy it for what it’s worth.

  11. iamlucky13 says:

    “Let’s enjoy them for what they are.”

    I can’t, because what they are is an attempt to convince ordinary people that well-established science is wrong.

    If all they were is an illustration of the helical path the planets trace out relative to the Milky Way, you would have a fair point, and the nuances of the actual trajectory could be overlooked. But he goes further and tries to convince the viewer that some very basic physical principles that we deal with every day, including gravity and momentum, don’t apply.

    It is comparable to the distinction between tendency to sin of fallen man, and the dualism of the Albigensian heresy (spirit good. matter bad). Most people may not understand the distinctions in detail, but that does not mean it’s not harmful to pass around Albigensian teachings because they seem similar to the casual reader.

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