May 11, 2011
Why Some Planets Orbit the Wrong Way
Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, Science Now
As varied as the planets in our solar system are, they all have one thing in common: all revolve in the same direction as the spinning of the sun. This isn’t true everywhere. In recent years, astronomers have discovered several planetary systems outside our own that contain massive, Jupiter-like planets orbiting in a direction opposite to the spin of the host star. Now, a team of researchers has performed computer simulations to show how these planets may have ended up in these funny “retrograde” orbits.
TAGGED: Orbit, Exoplanet