Scientists Discover Planet Rotating Backwards From Its Orbit
Aug 14, 2009 16:41
By default, planets will orbit around their central star in the same direction. However, one planet discovered by a team of researchers, dubbed WASP-17b, is going against the status quo.
But gravitational interference might be a bit of a stretch here: the planet's orbit is 150 degrees opposed, or almost directly opposite, the star's rotation. It'd take a pretty significant gravitational shove to get this much of a difference.
WASP-17b is notable for a couple of other reasons, too, all described in a paper submitted to the Astrophysical Journal. WASP-17b is possibly the largest yet discovered exo-planet, at twice the width of Jupiter. It's also pretty light, at only half of Jupiter's mass. That leaves the planet with a consistency similar to polystyrene, a light, puffed up ball of mostly nothing.The research team thinks this might be an effect of its very close (7 million kilometers), very quick (only 3.7 days) orbit yanking materials around inside the body and deforming it into this weird puffy planet.
This is a strange phenomenon. But yet it reminds us that there's so much more of the universe that we don't know just yet.
Planet found orbiting its star backwards for first time [via NewScientist] Paper: WASP-17b: an ultra-low density planet in a probable retrograde orbit [arXiv.org]
(Illustration: what such a close-orbiting planet may look like, from ESA/C. Carreau)
Are you starting your own blog or a make a living via writing? Now It's easy to get a writing job on the freelancer websites for a beginner. However, lots of writers get confused on how to write interesting posts? Well, you need to keep in mind that what can make your writing becomes something fun to do is actually your freedom from restriction. Be out of the box and you do not need to always follow other bloggers’ rules. Well, here are some simple tips to convince you that writing a good post is not as hard as you think! Read more
When it comes to getting the best out of your MacBook, you want to make sure that your posture is right when you’re working. If you’re lying on the couch watching movies, this is not all that important. When you need to work for eight hours a day, it becomes essential. Read more