May 11, 2011

Why Some Planets Orbit the Wrong Way

Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, Science Now


AP Photo

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.

Read Full Article ››

TAGGED: Orbit, Exoplanet

RECOMMENDED ARTICLES

October 11, 2013
How to Sniff for Life in Exoplanet Atmospheres
Lisa Grossman, NewSci.
ALIEN worlds have been pouring out of the sky in recent years. Exoplanet searches like those led by the Kepler space telescope predict that there are as many as 30 billion planets in our galaxy suitable for life. But... more ››
October 10, 2013
Diamond 'Super-Earth' Not as Precious as Thought
University of Arizona
An alien world reported to be the first known planet to consist largely of diamond appears less likely to be of such precious nature, according to a new analysis led by UA graduate student Johanna Teske. more ››
October 4, 2013
First Cloud Map of an Exoplanet
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
On the exoplanet Kepler 7b, the weather is highly predictable, an international team of scientists has found: On any given day, the exoplanet, which orbits a star nearly 1,000 light-years from Earth, is heavily overcast on one... more ››
October 4, 2013
Hunt for E.T.: Five Billion Years of Solitude
Amanda Alvarez, ISNS
There’s nothing quite as simultaneously awe-inspiring and humbling as gazing at the starry sky and coming to terms with your own fleeting role in the cosmos. Science journalist Lee Billings sets the stage for his... more ››