Which Way Do Planets in Our Galaxy Spin?

In summary, the direction of a planet's orbit around its star is not determined by the motion of arms in the galaxy. While all planets in our solar system follow a roughly clockwise orbit, the orientation of other stellar systems is random, making it impossible to determine a universal direction for planet orbits. Additionally, rotation in three-dimensional space is non-orientable and depends on the observer's position. In contrast, rotation in even-dimensional spaces, such as quantum spin, is orientable.
  • #1
Canada Bob
20
2
TL;DR Summary
Is the spin the same ?
Do all the planets in all the solar systems in our Galaxy spin in the same direction ?
Clockwise or anti clockwise depending on the viewers POV.
 
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  • #2
Canada Bob said:
Do all the planets in all the solar systems in our Galaxy spin in the same direction ?
We don't know the spin of any planets outside our solar system, but we do know that even just within our solar system, not all planets spin in the same direction. Venus's spin is retrograde, and Uranus's spin axis is tilted on its side (i.e., close to the plane of its orbit).
 
  • #3
Moderator's note: Thread moved to Astronomy forum.
 
  • #4
PeterDonis said:
We don't know the spin of any planets outside our solar system, but we do know that even just within our solar system, not all planets spin in the same direction. Venus's spin is retrograde, and Uranus's spin axis is tilted on its side (i.e., close to the plane of its orbit).
Thanks for the above Peter, apprecited, maybe I should rephrase my question, it's the path around the sun or any other star that I meant to ask about, rather than the spin of the planet itself.

If depending on the POV all the planets in our solar system follow a clockwise path around the sun, would all the planets in our galazy follow clockwise paths around their stars ?

I'm wondering if the motion of arms of stars swirling around our galaxy dictates the path of planets around their stars ?
 
  • #5
The orbital planes of different star systems are oriented essentially randomly, so no they don't all orbit in the same direction.
 
  • #6
Canada Bob said:
If depending on the POV all the planets in our solar system follow a clockwise path around the sun, would all the planets in our galazy follow clockwise paths around their stars ?
Angular momentum is conserved, if that's your question.
 
  • #7
Canada Bob said:
it's the path around the sun or any other star that I meant to ask about
Ah, got it. In our solar system, all of the orbits of the planets are roughly in the same plane (though not exactly) and in the same direction. However, as others have noted, the planes of different stellar systems are oriented randomly (at least as far as we know), so it would not make sense to say that planets of other stars orbit in the same direction as planets in our solar system do.
 
  • #8
What's more than that, three-dimensional rotation is non-orientable. That is, it is artificial to say that it is clockwise or anti-clockwise. It depends completely on the position of the observer.

In spaces with an even number of dimensions, rotation is orientable. Such is the case with quantum spin.
 

Related to Which Way Do Planets in Our Galaxy Spin?

1. How do we know which way planets in our galaxy spin?

We can determine the direction of planetary spin by observing the rotation of the planet's surface features, such as storms and clouds. We can also measure the direction of the planet's magnetic field, which is closely linked to its spin direction.

2. Do all planets in our galaxy spin in the same direction?

No, not all planets in our galaxy spin in the same direction. Some planets, such as Venus and Uranus, have retrograde rotation, meaning they spin in the opposite direction of the majority of planets in our solar system.

3. What factors influence the direction of planetary spin?

The direction of planetary spin is influenced by the initial rotation of the gas and dust cloud from which the planet formed. The impact of other objects, such as asteroids and comets, can also alter a planet's spin direction.

4. Are there any exceptions to the general pattern of planetary spin in our galaxy?

Yes, there are some exceptions to the general pattern of planetary spin in our galaxy. For example, the planet Venus rotates in the opposite direction of most planets, and some exoplanets (planets outside of our solar system) have been found to have highly irregular spin patterns.

5. How does the direction of planetary spin affect its characteristics?

The direction of planetary spin can affect its characteristics in various ways. For example, the direction of spin can impact the planet's climate, weather patterns, and magnetic field. It can also affect the tilt of the planet's axis and its overall shape.

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