Tim Cullen: The Alpha Centauri Connection

Posted: January 16, 2014 by tallbloke in Astronomy, Astrophysics, Celestial Mechanics, Cycles, Electro-magnetism, Natural Variation, solar system dynamics

The Alpha Centauri Connection

In 1922 Ellsworth Huntington recognised that the planets may well influence sunspots.

A study of sunspots suggests that their true periodicity is almost if not exactly identical with that of the orbital revolution of Jupiter, 11.8 years.

Other investigations show numerous remarkable coincidences between sunspots and the orbital revolution of the other planets, including especially Saturn and Mercury.

This seems to indicate that there is some truth in the hypothesis that sunspots and other related disturbances of the solar atmosphere owe their periodicity to the varying effects of the planets as they approach and recede from the sun in their eccentric orbits and as they combine or oppose their effects according to their relative positions.

Climatic Changes: Their Nature and Causes – 1922 – Ellsworth Huntington
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/37855
[update:]  PDF version created by Tim  1.2MB [/update]

Ellsworth Huntington concluded that any planetary influence on the sun was not caused by the “direct pull of gravitation” nor by the “tidal effect of the planets”.

The agency through which the planets influence the solar atmosphere is not yet clear.

The suggested agencies are the direct pull of gravitation, the tidal effect of the planets, and an electro-magnetic effect.

In Earth and Sun the conclusion is reached that the first two are out of the question, a conclusion in which E. W. Brown acquiesces.

Climatic Changes: Their Nature and Causes – 1922 – Ellsworth Huntington
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/37855

This was a good call by Ellsworth Huntington because there is clear evidence that the Sun and Moon do not exert a gravitational pull on the Earth when they are overhead.

Tidal Fiction

Tidal Fiction
http://malagabay.wordpress.com/2013/08/10/tidal-fiction/

Thus, by a process of elimination, Ellsworth Huntington concluded that electromagnetism was the only “reasonable” mechanism by which the planets could influence the Sun.

Unless some unknown cause is appealed to, this leaves an electro-magnetic hypothesis as the only one which has a reasonable foundation.

Climatic Changes: Their Nature and Causes – 1922 – Ellsworth Huntington
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/37855

This, again, was a good call by Ellsworth Huntington because there is clear evidence that the tidal effect of the Moon [when it is directly overhead] is repulsive.

cristobal-2011-june-tides-animation

Tides and the Lunar Waltz
http://malagabay.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/tides-and-the-lunar-waltz/

Ellsworth Huntington also considered the possibility that stars may electrically influence the Sun.

Another possible cause of solar disturbances is that the stars in their flight through space may exert an electrical influence which upsets the equilibrium of the solar atmosphere.

Electrostatic effects… are cumulative, for if ions arrive from space they must accumulate until the body to which they have come begins to discharge them.

Here the conditions are fundamentally different from those of the tidal hypothesis.

In the first place the electrostatic effect of a body has nothing to do with its mass, but depends on the area of its surface; that is, it varies as the square of the radius.

Second, the emission of electrons varies exponentially.

If hot glowing stars follow the same law as black bodies at lower temperatures, the emission of electrons, like the emission of other kinds of energy, varies as the fourth power of the absolute temperature.

In other words, suppose there are two black bodies, otherwise alike, but one with a temperature of 27° C. or 300° on the absolute scale, and the other with 600° on the absolute scale.

The temperature of one is twice as high as that of the other, but the electrostatic effect will be sixteen times as great.

Third, the number of electrons that reach a given body varies inversely as the square of the distance, instead of as the cube which is the case with tide-making forces.

Climatic Changes: Their Nature and Causes – 1922 – Ellsworth Huntington
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/37855

Accordingly, Ellsworth Huntington considered twenty six neighbouring stars and concluded that the Alpha Centauri triple star system had the greatest potential to electrically influence the Sun.

The other reason is that if our inferences as to the electrical effect of the sun on the earth and of the planets on the sun are correct, double stars, as we have seen, must be much more effective electrically than single stars.

By the same reasoning two bright stars close together must excite one another much more than a bright star and a very faint one, even if the distances in both cases are the same.

So, too, other things being equal, a triple star must be more excited electrically than a double star.

According to the electro-stellar hypothesis, Alpha Centauri is more important climatically than any other star in the heavens not only because it is triple and bright, but because it is the nearest of all stars, and moves fairly rapidly.

Climatic Changes: Their Nature and Causes – 1922 – Ellsworth Huntington
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/37855
Nearest stars
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_centauri

Ellsworth Huntington then determined that the maximum potential influence of Alpha Centauri would recur every 81.2 years.

If Alpha Centauri is really so important, the effect of its variations, provided it has any, ought perhaps to be evident in the sun.

The activity of the star’s atmosphere presumably varies, for the orbits of the two components have an eccentricity of 0.51.

Hence during their period of revolution, 81.2 years, the distance between them ranges from 1,100,000,000 to 3,300,000,000 miles.

They were at a minimum distance in 1388, 1459, 1550, 1631, 1713, 1794, 1875, and will be again in 1956.

Climatic Changes: Their Nature and Causes – 1922 – Ellsworth Huntington
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/37855

In the modern era the orbital period of Alpha Centauri has been refined down from 81.2 years to a very intriguing 79.91 years.

With the orbital period of 79.91 years, the A and B components of this binary star can approach each other to 11.2 astronomical units, equivalent to 1.67 billion km or about the mean distance between the Sun and Saturn, or may recede as far as 35.6 AU (5.3 billion km—approximately the distance from the Sun to Pluto).

In the true orbit, closest approach or periastron was in August 1955, and next in May 2035.

Furthest orbital separation at apastron last occurred in May 1995 and the next will be in 2075.

The apparent distance between the two stars is presently rapidly decreasing, at least until 2019.

Orbits of Alpha Centauri

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_centauri

However, this modest 1.29 year adjustment does not significantly undermine the observation made by Ellsworth Huntington that “in three and perhaps four cases the sun has been unusually active during a time when the two parts of the star were most rapidly approaching each other”.

In Fig. 11, showing sunspot variations, it is noticeable that the years 1794 and 1875 come just at the ends of periods of unusual solar activity, as indicated by the heavy horizontal line.

A similar period of great activity seems to have begun about 1914.

If its duration equals the average of its two predecessors, it will end about 1950.

Back in the fourteenth century a period of excessive solar activity, which has already been described, culminated from 1370 to 1385, or just before the two parts of Alpha Centauri were at a minimum distance.

Thus in three and perhaps four cases the sun has been unusually active during a time when the two parts of the star were most rapidly approaching each other and when their atmospheres were presumably most disturbed and their electrical emanations strongest.

Climatic Changes: Their Nature and Causes – 1922 – Ellsworth Huntington
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/37855

Carbon14 climate history
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sp%C3%B6rer_Minimum

The predictive capability of the Alpha Centauri periastron is far from perfect in the long term [according to the calibrated Carbon 14 dating technique].

However, it is intriguing to note that the last Alpha Centauri periastron in 1955 was at the start of the very spectacular Solar Cycle 19.

Periastron Sunspots

It is also intriguing that the observed Gleissberg Cycles have a mean duration of 78 years.

Gleissberg cycle
Cycle of solar activity, usually given to be 80-90-years (70-100 years), discovered by Wolfgang Gleißberg during research of the solar activity.

Gleissberg observed 17 cycles from the year 290 AD (with mean duration cca 78 years), see below.

Length of the cycle is not constant – it varies quite considerably (approximatelly 85 ± 15 years).

http://vladimir_ladma.sweb.cz/english/cycles/period/cgleissberg.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_variation

Decade-to-Century-Scale Climate Variability and Change
The sunspot record exhibits an 80-100 year period known as the Gleissberg cycle, and the apparent alternation of stronger and weaker 11-year cycles produces a concentration of variance with a 22-year period.

Decade-to-Century-Scale Climate Variability and Change
National Academy Press – 1998
http://www.inpe.br/crs/geodesastres/conteudo/livros/NAS_1998_Climate_variability_and_change.pdf

And that Dr. Theodor Landscheidt detected a 79 year solar cycle.

Swinging Sun, 79-Year Cycle, and Climatic Change
The secular cycle of solar activity is related to the sun’s oscillatory motion about the center of mass of the solar system.

http://bourabai.kz/landscheidt/swinging.htm

And that Tim Channon found a 78.94 year frequency in a solar irradiance reconstruction.

Tallbloke and Tim Channon - A cycles analysis approach to predicting solar activity

Tallbloke and Tim Channon: A cycles analysis approach to predicting solar activity

https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/tallbloke-and-tim-channon-a-cycles-analysis-approach-to-predicting-solar-activity/

And that the atmospheric Carbon 14 record shows a distinct marker that coincides with the Alpha Centauri periastron of 1875.

Carbon 14 History

Atmospheric data from Reimer et al (2004)
http://www.radiocarbon.org/IntCal04%20files/intcal04.14c

Overall, it is not inconceivable that the Planets and Alpha Centauri [jointly] conspire to electromagnetically influence the Sun.

Pattern Recognition in Physics

https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/special-edition-of-pattern-recognition-in-physics/

Comments
  1. oldbrew says:

    Re ‘there is clear evidence that the Sun and Moon do not exert a gravitational pull on the Earth when they are overhead’.

    Miles Mathis put it like this:

    ‘The field that causes tides is electromagnetic, not gravitational. Therefore all the math done by the standard model is completely wrong from top to bottom. … No tidal theory has ever been successful at deriving the tides we see, and current tidal theory exists only by subterfuge. Once I point out all the fudges, it crumbles into an ugly pile of very dishonest math.’

    http://milesmathis.com/tide2.html

  2. hunter says:

    What mechanism causes this alleged electromagnetic influence?
    Sorry but this makes no sense at all.

  3. oldbrew says:

    @ hunter

    The solar wind is involved according to Mathis.

    Another Mathis observation to ponder:

    ‘Even if we accept that gravity is a pulling force, or the equivalent of a pulling force, there is no way to get two spring tides every month of the size we see.’

    http://milesmathis.com/tide3.html

  4. hunter says:

    oldbrew,
    I find this sort of conjecture fun in the sense of blaming CO2 for weather is fun: Great for sci-fi. I find it less than inspiring to see someone questioning the basics of gravity, and then making the blanket claim that gravity cannot explain tides, and then that a star cluster several light years away explains things better. Solar wind is a complex physical system that can have electrical manifestations in the presence of magnetic fields. To claim that this is controlling tides seems to be a stretch at best.

  5. oldbrew says:

    @ hunter

    He does propose physical mechanisms in his paper(s). In fact one of his pet beefs is that what he calls ‘mainstream science’ is far too fond of ‘un-physical’ explanations.

    As for Alpha Centauri, without taking sides I’d be willing to consider all possibilities as long as they are possibilities.

  6. tchannon says:

    Update: A PDF version of the Gutenberg book is now linked near the head of the article.

    I created this from the HTML version with PDF internal hyperlinks and autosizing images and is on WordPress servers. I hope this is more accessible than the variants offered.

    Good news is figuring out how to do this once will make it easier next time.

  7. Chaeremon says:

    Re: “[the] Tides and the Lunar Waltz”, the interpretation of this animated picture with conclusion “repulsive” was made by people who have not spent substantial parts of their life on the waters of our planet. The 12:00 position from which the apparent “repulsive” was derived can be modeled in the bathtub 😉

  8. oldbrew says:

    ‘I find it less than inspiring to see someone questioning the basics of gravity’

    Consider this as well:

    ‘The barycenter falsifies the entire standard analysis, since it would swamp all effects from the Sun and Moon. You cannot include effects from the barycenter, since they cannot be made to fit the given data. And you cannot fail to include effects from the barycenter, since current gravity theory demands a barycenter. This is called a failed theory.’

    http://milesmathis.com/tide.html

  9. tchannon says:

    Way back when the book was published there was a far high popularity for electrostatic and electromagnetic effects which over time fell out of fashion. Today for all the common applications of electricity the general appreciation is very low. I bridge the ages so I’ve noticed the dullness of youngsters, little more than consumers of magic, been shocked at the lack of fundamental knowledge.

    I find it hard to believe there is zero effect from electrical forces in their natural environment. I suppose a flow of electric current through a hard vacuum is counter intuitive given the correct knowledge a hard vacuum is an electrical insulator, yet this is so and easy to show is so. Similarly that electrical force is present across a hard vacuum with no apparent conduit.

    What is being proposed here might or might not be valid, I don’t know but I’d expect a comprehensive disproof to be around somewhere which led to the field being ignored.

  10. Ellsworth Huntington say :

    “…..Another possible cause of solar disturbances is that the stars in their flight through space may exert an electrical influence which upsets the equilibrium of the solar atmosphere…..”

    My correction :
    🙂

    “…..Another possible cause of terrestrial disturbances is that the planets in their flight through space may exert an electrical influence which upsets the equilibrium of the terrestrial atmosphere…..”

    Younger dryas, Tunguska event, Carrington event …. etc… etc…

    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/michele-casati-volcanicity-earthquake-geomagnetism-and-the-heliosphere/comment-page-1/#comment-10270

    Bye,
    michele

  11. BoyfromTottenham says:

    Rog, Tim: water is a polar molecule, it is therefore attracted / repelled by electrostatic charges, of which there are plenty in the earth’s wider atmosphere. Willis E tells me there is little research into this aspect of climate. Any thoughts?

  12. suricat says:

    TB.

    On a point of logic, I’d expect an orbiting body to exert/undergo less gravitational influence during its flight towards perihelion than during its flight towards aphelion. Does this make sense?

    Best regards, Ray.

  13. Brian H says:

    Another way of explaining the out-of-phase gravitic relationship of the moon and tides is to consider mass rather than volume; if the net attraction on the ocean beneath the moon is less than that normal to that line, most mass will be pulled 90° away.

  14. jordan says:

    What you are really talking about is the Aether, Le sage’s theory of gravitation and that whole can of worms. Hey Paul Dirac said it did not violate Einstein’s theories. Fascinating subject never happy with dark energy or dark matter, electric universe binary system with sirius, who knows. Love the blog make me ponder the possibilities.

  15. G. Watkins says:

    Miles M.’s main hypothesis is that photons have mass, which explains many of the anomalies and contradictions of the Standard model of physics, including dark matter.
    One needs to read all ( or most ) of his body of work to properly follow his arguments.
    Intriguing stuff in my opinion which has given me hours of fun reading but I accept that I’m just a dumb medic.

  16. malagabay says:

    suricat says: January 17, 2014 at 12:54 am
    On a point of logic, I’d expect an orbiting body to exert/undergo less gravitational influence during its flight towards perihelion than during its flight towards aphelion.
    Does this make sense?

    Ray,
    That’s a really good question 🙂

    I seriously doubt that the concept of “logic” applies when it comes to mainstream tidal theory.

    The first “logic” problem is the whole concept of the Moon as an “orbiting body”.
    The problem here is whether the Moon orbits the Sun or the Earth or Both.

    Geocentrics think the Moon orbits the Earth.

    Heliocentrics think the Moon orbits the Sun.

    Personally, I favour the Helical view where the Earth and Moon are playing “bumper cars” as they spiral around the Sun as the Sun moves through space.
    This implies the Earth and Moon are kept apart by repulsion.

    [For more info see: Lunar Orbit http://malagabay.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/lunar-orbit/ ]

    The second “logic” problem for the mainstream is how exactly does a Newtonian Barycentre function in space without a fulcrum and “downward” gravity.

    [For more info see: Barycentric Orbits http://malagabay.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/inventions-and-deceptions-barycentric-orbits/ ]

    The third “logic” problem for the mainstream is why Newtonian gravity [where mass attracts mass] has been such a heroic failure at making the planets dive into the Sun [or at the very least collide].

    The mainstream dodge for this seems to be that the planets have “intrinsic momentum”.

    Unfortunately, for the mainstream, Kepler observed a long time ago that the orbital speeds [and distances] of the planets are determined by the system [i.e. the “Solar System”] and not the “intrinsic momentum” of the planets.

    Basically, after billions of years [if we are to believe in the mainstream age of the Solar System] the variable orbital speed of any planet [perihelion versus aphelion] implies that any “intrinsic momentum” will have been lost long ago because “the system” has taken control.

    In other words, it is only “new entrants” into the Solar System [like comets] that have any “intrinsic momentum”.

    However, these “new entrants” slowly lose their “intrinsic momentum” when they are “captured” by the Sun [or a planet] and they are [sooner or later] assimilated into “the system” [or “sub-system”].

    [For more info see: Wheels Within Wheels http://malagabay.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/wheels-within-wheels-vortex-within-vortex/ ]

    Trying to untangle ourselves from this mainstream melange of mutilated “logic” is not an easy task when we have received a “formal education”.

    Perhaps that is why I greatly admire the “open approach” adopted by Ellsworth Huntington back in 1922.

    Personally, I am still in the process of “playing catch-up” with Ellsworth Huntington.

    I can see exactly why Ellsworth Huntington discounted the “direct pull of gravitation” and the “tidal effect of the planets” way back in 1992.

    However, just like Ellsworth Huntington in 1922, I wonder about “the agency through which the planets influence the solar atmosphere” and think that the answer “is not yet clear”.

    Again, just like Ellsworth Huntington in 1922, I find [through a process of elimination] that electromagnetism appears to be “the only game in town”.

    Personally, I am looking for good, clean observations that can move the discussion forward.

    However, interpreting observations [even when they are clear] is not always easy.

    For example, when I researched “tidal forces” [on Earth] I observed something was evidently happening but I couldn’t specifically identify which force [or combination forces] was driving the observations.

    In the end I was [ironically] forced to attribute the observations to a non-specific “ambient force”.

    My personal WTF moment occurred when I was looking at the tides for Casey [in Antarctica] during [Lunar] Apogee and Perigee [see the diagram below].

    The diagram seems to supports your “logic” that less force is exerted at closest approach.

    But I am still wondering WTF is that “force” that shows such a strong signal at the South Pole.

    The only clue I have is that the South Pole is one of the Earth’s magnetic “north poles”.

    [For more info see: Tides and the Lunar Pole Dance http://malagabay.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/tides-and-the-lunar-pole-dance/ ]

    Regards
    Tim

  17. hunter says:

    Last time I checked, space is a pretty good insulator. There is no reasonable explanation of how the Centauri cluster gets its charges across the light years to here. Also, last time I checked, electrical effects do not make things move in tidal fashions. For there to be enough charge to make an ocean of water move around, the charges would have to be vast. To make them move in a fashion that correlates to lunar and solar gravity in a predictable fashion without gravity, but electrically seems more unlikely than the AGW idea of a runaway greenhouse effect triggered by CO2. In fact, this whole line of conjecture reminds me of the AGW promoters, making a great deal out of what turns out to be unlikely and small.

  18. tchannon says:

    The explanation for many disagreements is context (or perspective); from what point of view?

    [humour] There is a third orbital path… egocentric. [/h]

    All it takes to keep the moon and earth apart is conservation of energy in a lossless system, changing this is more difficult than trying to non-destructively land an aerodynamically good fast aircraft: descend and it speeds up but minimum safe flying speed must occur at the point of touchdown. Tricky. If loss is zero it is impossible.
    Or as Douglas Adams wrote so nicely “The trick of flying is to aim at the ground and miss”

  19. hunter says:

    tchannon,
    I am a bit unclear with what you are proposing.
    The implication of your writing is that orbital mechancis need to be revised. Is that in fact what you are saying?

  20. mwhite says:

    Don’t know if you saw it,BBC Newsnight

    “Has the Sun gone to sleep?”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25771510

    “Scientists are saying that the Sun is in a phase of “solar lull” – meaning that it has fallen asleep – and it is baffling them.

    History suggests that periods of unusual “solar lull” coincide with bitterly cold winters.

    Rebecca Morelle reports for BBC Newsnight on the effect this inactivity could have on our current climate, and what the implications might be for global warming.”

  21. ren says:

    Tallbloke, it will probably long winter. We know that the cause is the polar vortex and solar activity. Here, too, start at lie.

  22. oldbrew says:

    @ hunter

    ‘Also, last time I checked, electrical effects do not make things move in tidal fashions.’

    Not a Wikipedia check hopefully 😉

    ‘There is no reasonable explanation of how the Centauri cluster gets its charges across the light years to here.’

    Intergalactic winds can extend to 10000 light years from origin.

    http://astronomy.swin.edu.au/cosmos/G/Galactic+Winds

  23. hunter says:

    oldbrew,
    Wikipedia? lol. No, whatsizname might vandalize it.
    Yes, the winds can blow here, eventually. Some faint remnant might even get past our heoliopause and into the solar system. But what energy is left? We are talking about physics, not magic or homeopathic medicine. Unless we are going to see a sudden revival of the etheric theory? ;^)

  24. suricat says:

    malagabay says: January 17, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Wow! That’s a big response to my small statement Tim. Sorry for the delay, I’ve had my youngest’s 40th this weekend.

    “I seriously doubt that the concept of “logic” applies when it comes to mainstream tidal theory.”

    ‘Mainstream theory’ may alter, but ‘logic’ prevails. 😉

    “The first “logic” problem is the whole concept of the Moon as an “orbiting body”.”

    This is dependant, as you say, upon your viewing perspective of the configuration, or ‘relative’ POV.

    For an Earth : Moon system the ‘real players’ are the Earth and the Moon, but outside forcings from Sol and its planets etc. distort the system’s natural behaviour.

    For a ‘Sol : Earth : Moon’ system we need to use an alternative ‘math’ system because we confront the ‘three body conundrum’ that ‘standard’ math finds difficulty in coping with. Computer models aside, I don’t know how to easily address this math shortcoming. More ‘bodies’ makes the problem even worse as each system ‘leaches’ energy from every other system that it can leach energy from.

    Yes, a “formal education” teaches about ‘a system’ and any energy lost from that system is just an ‘inefficiency’ of the system under observation! No one seems to care about this energy loss that fed into other systems and raised their entropic state. Perhaps a look at ‘MEP’ (Maximum Entropy Production) would help to underline this problem of trying to keep track of ‘everything’.

    http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/365/1545/1333.full

    As can be seen, it’s difficult to assess all of the ‘attractor’ systems that leach an ‘energy flow’ {Ji} from the system under observation. Then there’s an added problem! Should the system ‘not’ be ‘steady state’, what is the ‘capacity’ of each attractor and the MEP rate within the attractor’s own system, and so on, and so on?

    It gets big. 🙂

    Best regards, Ray.

  25. suricat says:

    Mod. Sorry for the double post. Please delete this post and the post “January 19, 2014 at 10:34 pm”

    Thanks, Ray.

  26. dscott says:

    malagabay let me take a stab at your 3rd point of logic of why planets don’t just crash into the sun, Isaac Newton based on Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion said there was an acceleration vector caused by the sun. Here is a link you can look up the math and idea: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kepler's_laws_of_planetary_motion

    Now let’s suppose how this acceleration is accomplished. Have you noticed that the sun’s rotation is in the same direction of the planets orbital path? If the sun’s immense gravity is holding the planets within the solar system, then it stands to reason that gravity is a perpendicular force pulling inward. As observed on Earth that vector is perpendicular to the core on all objects on it’s surface because all such objects are moving as the same vector speed as the planet’s rotation. However, we are talking vast distances between the planets and the sun all the way out to Pluto and to the Oort Cloud. It is inconceivable based on a 25 day rotation period of the sun about it’s axis that vector forces are acting purely perpendicular all the way out to the Oort Cloud. Think of the speed required to cause a pure perpendicular vector to the sun that far out, it would probably violate the Light Speed Limit to force the Oort Cloud to orbit the sun in 25 days. In fact no body in orbit around the sun moves to maintain a 25 day period, not even Mercury.

    Which leads me to hypothesize that force of gravity is a wave that trails the rotation of an object the further it moves away from the object forming a backward spiral. Think of a spinning ball with a string attached to it, the string winds around the ball as the ball spins because it can’t keep up. If the string were stiffened to a stick, then the end of the string/stick would travel at the same vector speed as the surface of the ball to which it is attached. Now what would happen if a weight were put on the end of that string on a spinning ball? The centripetal force of the weight on the end of the string would force it outward, away from the spinning ball. I submit that gravity forming this backward spiral literally drags along the planets in orbit just as a string would if it had a weight tied to it. Except that the pull of gravity is not inelastic like a physical string, but rather stretches like a rubber band. Maybe a better analogy than a rubber band would be the use of a clutch plate slipping to speed up from contact pressure. The planet will never speed up to match rotational speed of the sun but the trailing gravity wave pulls it along slipping past it imparting some of its force to the planet moving it forward. You will also notice that few if any objects orbit the sun outside the narrow plane in which the planets orbit in relation to the sun’s equator. The rotational surface speed is less the closer you move toward the poles and hence spiral force is not as strong at the equator. If you attach a string with a weight at it’s end on a ball even at the axis, the centripetal forces move the weight away and perpendicular to the axis.