Crazy planet going wrong way on a one-way street

by Anonymous on Aug. 12th, 2009

Birth of a planet in a binary star system: Could such a star system throw a planet into retrograde orbit?
Birth of a planet in a binary star system: Could such a star system throw a planet into retrograde orbit?Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech
A newly detected planet about twice the size of Jupiter circling a distant star seems to be orbiting in the opposite direction the star is spinning. This is a first for astronomers, and goes against conventional wisdom since planets and stars are thought to form out of the same swirling nebulous gas. Scientists aren't sure why it's acting this way, but they speculate the planet could have been sent into retrograde orbit by an external force such as a near-miss with another undetected planet in the system or by a passing star. Kind of interesting whatever the case. The study has been submitted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal, but you can read more about it here right now.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

James Satter's picture

Thanks for posting this. I always enjoy astronomy content on this site!

posted on Wed, 08/12/2009 - 10:58pm
curious's picture
curious says:

i believe Venus also rotates in the opposite direction of it's orbit, but it's orbit is counter-clockwise like the rotation of the sun. so i guess it's only a retrograde rotation vs. a retrograde orbit. sorry venus, just slightly not as cool, though still a pretty amazing planet.

posted on Thu, 08/13/2009 - 6:25pm

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