Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

JPL Website is Wrong

  1. Jul 20, 2008 #1
    JPL Website is Wrong!!!

    Recently I wrote a letter to Jet Propultion Laboratory's Webmaster but never got a response. It stated that the Solar Simulator on their website http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/solar_system/
    is wrong even considering there was no inclination, i, is for all planets. Still the planets Venus and Uranus rotate counterclockwise as time passes if viewed from the North Pole side of the universe. The rest of the planets rotate clockwise, as time passes if viewed from the North Poleside of the universe. In JPL's depiction all the planets rotate counterclockwise. Am I wrong or is this not the case?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 20, 2008 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: JPL Website is Wrong!!!

    Uranus is featureless in those simulations. How can you tell which way it rotates?

    Are you confusing "rotates" with "revolves"?

    Rotate refers to the direction the planet spins on its axis, while revolve refers to the direction the planet moves in its orbit around the Sun.

    All planets in our solar system revolve counterclockwise as viewed from North.
  4. Jul 24, 2008 #3
    Re: JPL Website is Wrong!!!

    If we use the right-hand-rule for planet rotation then all planets rotate correctly, its just that Venus and Uranus do so at very inclined angles.

    To find the north pole of a planet think of your right thumb as representing the pole and have your fingers curl in the direction of the planet's rotation. You'll find that for Earth your thumb points up, sideways for Uranus, and almost straight down for Venus.

    Also note that from the Sun's north pole, looking down on the Solar System, the planets both rotate and revolve counter-clockwise.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2008
  5. Jul 24, 2008 #4
    Re: JPL Website is Wrong!!!

    My bad, got rotation around the sun and axial spin confused.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook