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Kepler Exoplanet findings and galactic plane question

  1. Jan 27, 2012 #1
    Noob here, be gentle…

    I am of the understanding that the solar system formed by means of an accretion disk that made its plane normal to the sun rotation. I suppose that the Galactic plane formed by the same basic gravitational and centripetal means.

    Does our Solar System’s plane match the galactic plane?

    Do all (exo)solar system planes match the galactic plane? If so, why?

    Do binary star systems buck this assumed trend?

    The reason for the question is based on the recent findings from the Kepler Space Telescope and other ground based observatories that have been using the Transit Method to find exoplanets. To use the transit method, we would have to be in the same plane as the studied exosystems. They are looking at a small section of the sky and are finding a bunch of planets in a short ammount of time. Thought crossed my mind that maybe the galactic plane had somethign to do with the vector of our suns spin.

    Side thought,

    I would assume that most Galaxies have too weak a gravitational bond between each other to form a Galactic Super-cluster plane but wouldn’t that be awesome. It would be like a spiral galaxy of Galaxies! And if Gravity continues to be a force beyond the known universe, could other universes be orbiting each other in some mind bendingly expansive spiral formation of universi... and to finish melting my lobes, all on the same plane as our solar system!

    Thanks for looking at this post!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 27, 2012 #2


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    No, the plane of the solar system is heavily inclined compared to the galactic plane. I'm not sure on how much, but I think it's somewhere around 40 degrees.

    Exoplanetary systems, so far, have been randomally oriented with respect to the galactic plane to my knowledge.

    The transit method is used but it depends on those systems simply being aligned correctly based on chance. They don't need to be aligned WITH us, only aligned so that our direction of view is aligned with thier plane.

    Kepler looks at 145,000 stars at one time, that is the reason for so many detected transits.

    Similar to the solar system, our galaxy is randomly oriented in our particular direction as are all other galaxies.
  4. Jan 28, 2012 #3
    After Posting the tread, I was thinking and thought about a practical way to test my question:

    When looking at the Milky Way band accross the night sky, if in fact the solar plane was the same as the Milky Way's, we would observe our local planets only in this band. I suppose that skytracker app on the iPhones could help determine our degree of incline.

    Thanks, Drakkith, for the fun tidbit to think about as a drum about my daily activities!
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