Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Speed of Stars
Name: pam mcdermott
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1993 - 1999

How fast do stars travel in the Milky Way?

The milky way, our very own galaxy, rotates and moves as a whole with respect to the microwave background of the universe. Individual stars have "peculiar" (that's what they're called) motions with respect to the general motion of the part of the milky way that they are in.

The peculiar motions are like the motions of passengers as they walk around on a train.

I trust that you are asking about the "peculiar" motions. I don't know the answer, but I hope that someone who does will enlighten us.

I hope that I have correctly clarified your question.

J Lu

The speed of our sun around the center of the Milky Way is about 250 km/sec. The Sun also has a peculiar motion of about 15 km/sec towards the constellation Hercules; this is measured with respect to the so-called Local Standard of Rest (LSR). For comparison, the Earth's orbital speed is about 30 km/sec. For more info, check an elementary astronomy text such as _Introduction to Astronomy and Astrophysics_ by Smith and Jacobs.


Click here to return to the Astronomy Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory