Why are all the other planets in our solar system rotating the same way?
A lot of our solar systems are spinning in a similar way, but the details vary wildly, making it hard to tell what’s going on.
Scientists can’t tell which planets are spinning at the same time, but they can determine which are the right planets.
A new paper by MIT graduate student Jonathan R. Smith and colleagues found that we’ve always known about this sort of thing, and that it’s the reason why we see the Earth and other planets rotating around us.
In the new paper, they suggest that the way that the planets’ rotational rates are mapped out could help astronomers learn more about the planets, and also could allow us to design better probes to explore those planets.
For example, one of the planets might have a higher rotational rate than we can measure with telescopes.
Smith said this type of discovery would allow astronomers to better understand the planets and their atmospheres.
It would also be useful for understanding how Earth and its moons evolved, Smith said.
A lot more work needs to be done before we can see the stars, but Smith’s paper is interesting and the researchers are hoping it’ll help solve a problem that hasn’t been solved in astronomy before.
In a paper published in Astrophysical Journal Letters, the authors also suggest a possible way to map out the rotational frequencies of other planets, including our own sun.
Astrobiology’s first planet-based telescope is set to launch in 2022.