Allen Versfeld's picture

Do all planets spin in the same direction?

This very detailed enhanced-colour image from ESO’s Very Large Telescope shows the dramatic effects of very young stars on the dust and gas from which they were born in the star-forming region NGC 6729.  Credit: ESO/Sergey StepanenkoDear Urban Astronomer

Do all planets spin the same way, or are there some planets where the sun rises in their equivalent of West? Does it depend on the particular solar system? What about the stars in a galaxy -- do they all spin in the same direction? Do all galaxies spin the same way, or do they even spin at all?


Amanda Dominy (extracted from facebook conversation)

Dear Amanda

First, the short answer: All rotations and revolutions in a planetary system are in the same direction, except for when they aren't.  These motions are not necessarily in the same direction between neighbouring stars, even stars born from the same gas cloud.  The stars themselves do move through a galaxy in the same direction in a roughly circular orbit, except for when they don't.

So that's all cleared up then.  But just in case you're still in the dark, here's a more detailed answer: Read more about Do all planets spin in the same direction?

Allen Versfeld's picture

My first galaxy

Centaurus A (NGC 5128)A few nights ago, the clouds parted and revealed the first clear sky in a very long time. So I hauled out the telescope, camera, laptop and furniture to spend the evening capturing a target I'd had my eye on for some time: The radio galaxy NGC 5128, more famously known as Centaurus A. My telescope is quite old - it was made in the early 1990's - so although it was an expensive and state of the art instrument in its day, it is quite primitive by modern computerised standards. The electronics in its mount are able to drive the tracking motor at different speeds, but it has no GoTo abilities, and it has no digital setting circles. Read more about My first galaxy

The 348th Carnival of Space!

It's Global Astronomy Month and a properly diverse Carnival of Space to boot.  Carnival of Space #348

Hosted by Peter Lake on his Aartscope Blog, this week's Carnival celebrates a packed itinerary of must-see April sites; thanks to Spacewriter; and as Peter points out, this is an eic month for celestial events. We have the Total Eclipse of the Moon and the Mars Opposition to watch out for! Those in Australia can also look forward to the National Australian Convention of Amateur Astronomers. Read more about The 348th Carnival of Space!

Allen Versfeld's picture

Hundred mile high water geyser detected on Jupiter's moon

This graphic shows where water vapour was detected above Europa in December 2012.  Credit: NASA/ESA/L. Roth/SWRI/University of CologneAstronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have discovered what appear to be enormous seasonal jets of water vapour venting from Europa - one of the four large moons of Jupiter that are visible from Earth through simple binoculars. If these observations can be confirmed, then Europa will be only the third world known to have water geysers, after Earth, and Saturn's moon Enceladus. The jet of water vapour appears to shoot up to a height of over two hundred kilometers before falling back down to the icy moon's surface, and only vents at certain points in its orbit around Jupiter.  Researchers are now trying to confirm if they have found a real phenomenon, and that it is indeed a jet of water coming from the surface of Jupiter's satelliteRead more about Hundred mile high water geyser detected on Jupiter's moon

Allen Versfeld's picture

Carnival of Space #347

Carnival of SpaceIt's a new week and that means it's time for the next Carnival of Space! This week's host is Nicole Gugliucci from Cosmoquest, and while she's been a regular contributor to the Carnival, this is her first time hosting. So a hearty welcome to Nicole and Cosmoquest! As usual, the carnival features a selection of the past week's best space science and astronomy writing from around the Internet, and our new host has done a fine job selecting and summarising them for out easy consumption. Read more about Carnival of Space #347


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