Streams

Planets with Backwards Orbits?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Earlier this month a group of European astronomers announced that they have discovered distant planets which orbit their suns the wrong way. The discovery has shattered the way scientists thought planets formed. For more, we'll speak with Derrick Pitts, the chief astronomer of the Franklin Institute Science Museum.

Guests:

Derrick Pitts

Comments [8]

Jgarbuz from Queens, NY

The more the cosmologists think they know, the more questions they discover. The new questions now overwhelm the answers discovered so far.
The mystical Kabbalah likens the uncovering of knowledge about the universe to peeling an onion. When all the layers are peeled away, you are left with "ayin." Total nothingness. A nothingness we simply cannot imagine. The nothingness before our universe or "multiverse" came into being. All of what we can learn are nothing but emanations. Emanations of the Will of the Unknowable Creator.

Apr. 23 2010 01:04 PM
Elli from NYC

I think "wrong way" means the opposite direction from the way the star itself rotates on its axis.

Apr. 23 2010 12:43 PM
Justin from Melville

Seems to me that this systems star was under some sort of flux in the early development causing a change in the gravitational pull on the forming planets.

Apr. 23 2010 12:40 PM
Alvin from Manhattan

This guy is confusing me. At first, he spoke of the direction that planets rotate. Then he spoke about the direction in which they orbit their suns. Is he talking about the direction they revolve or rotate? Paging Patricia T. O'Connor.

Apr. 23 2010 12:37 PM
Elli from NYC

Leonard,

"Counterclockwise" orbit rotation is meaningless. The orbit rotation is relative to the viewer. There's no "up" or "down"...

Elli

Apr. 23 2010 12:36 PM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Why is there a right hand rule - usually - for the orbits of planets? (Is there a right hand rule?)

Apr. 23 2010 12:34 PM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Is there a connection between the direction in which planets in a solar system orbit and the direction in which planets revolve? Doesn't either Uranus or Neptune revolve the 'wrong way'?

Apr. 23 2010 12:33 PM
antonio from park slope

How do we know that we are not rotating backwards, and they are rotating correctly? Is it majority rules?

Apr. 23 2010 12:33 PM

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