Planets – gone wild

Girls, animals and musicians have gone wild. Now some planets have joined them.

Scientists have known for decades that some planets have rotated on their axes (that’s plural, ak’seez) the wrong way. What they didn’t know until earlier this month is that some planets orbit their suns the wrong way.

Which orbit is the wrong way? Clockwise. Retrograde planets – seems counter intuitive, doesn’t it?

Some European astronomers announced that they have discovered six distant planets which do just that. And why is that earth-shattering? Because it reduces the chances of finding planets similar in makeup to Earth, and it questions the existing theories of how solar systems are formed.

Listen to this short interview for a more accurate explanation. Leonard Lopate talks with Derrick Pitts, the Chief Astronomer of the Franklin Institute Science Museum.

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