Planets Spinning In Reverse

Jupiter by Cassini-HuygensDid you know that some planets spin backwards? A new study reveals the so called hot Jupiters, reported via Reuters:

Some planets are just flipping backward.

Of the more than 500 planets detected around stars besides our Sun, the vast majority appear to spin the same way the star does, scientists reported on Wednesday in the journal Nature.

But some of these extrasolar planets spin in the opposite direction of the stars they orbit, astronomers found. These strange, backward-spinning planets are usually gassy giants called hot Jupiters, not rocky orbs like Earth.

Besides their backwards twirling, which the astronomers call flipped orbits, these big planets huddle close to their stars, unlike Jupiter, which is about 483 million miles (778 million km) from the Sun, more than five times as distant from the Sun as Earth.

“That’s really weird, and it’s even weirder because the planet is so close to the star,” Frederic Rasio of Northwestern University said in a statement.

“How can one be spinning one way and the other orbiting exactly the other way? It’s crazy. It so obviously violates our most basic picture of planet and star formation.”…

[continues at Reuters]

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  • nfarnold21

    New planet have been being discovered when a telescope is fixed on a star for an extended period of time. As the planet passes in front of the star the luminosity decreases. This is the only way that we will be able to discover new planets until the Webb telescope is launched in 2012. That being said the only way that we can judge the spin of a planet is by using red light and blue light shift which can not be judged in this fashion. Also these gas giants would not be able to spin in retro-grade motion due to their density. Planets only acquire a retro-grade motion if that have been hit by a large object that has altered it’s path, a planets with a large rocky core or frozen surface are the only candidates for this.

  • nfarnold21

    New planet have been being discovered when a telescope is fixed on a star for an extended period of time. As the planet passes in front of the star the luminosity decreases. This is the only way that we will be able to discover new planets until the Webb telescope is launched in 2012. That being said the only way that we can judge the spin of a planet is by using red light and blue light shift which can not be judged in this fashion. Also these gas giants would not be able to spin in retro-grade motion due to their density. Planets only acquire a retro-grade motion if that have been hit by a large object that has altered it’s path, a planets with a large rocky core or frozen surface are the only candidates for this.

21
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