Latest Issue of Science News


News

Extrasolar planets at full tilt

The sun’s planetary system may have escaped or rebounded from violent interactions that studies show played a key role in shaping other systems

Call them the wrong-way planets. Several giant, extrasolar planets, all residing within sizzling distance of their parent stars, have orbits so tilted that the planets travel backward relative to their parent stars’ rotation, a flurry of new studies reveals. The misalignments attest to rough-and-tumble histories and may suggest that life flourished on Earth because the solar system avoided the brunt of close gravitational encounters between planets.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

X
This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.