Agriculture
Treating peanut allergy bit by bit
Growing Healthier Tomato Plants
Earth-Friendly Fabrics
Amphibians
Toads
Bullfrogs
Poison Dart Frogs
Animals
Ants on Stilts
A Jellyfish's Blurry View
Odor-Chasing Penguins
Behavior
Pondering the puzzling platypus
Mice sense each other's fear
The chemistry of sleeplessness
Birds
Birds We Eat
Ospreys
A Meal Plan for Birds
Chemistry and Materials
Sugary Survival Skill
Earth-Friendly Fabrics
The newest superheavy in town
Computers
Small but WISE
Galaxies on the go
Music of the Future
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Supersight for a Dino King
Battling Mastodons
Feathered Fossils
E Learning Jamaica
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Earth
Groundwater and the Water Cycle
Deep Drilling at Sea
The Pacific Ocean's Bald Spot
Environment
Out in the Cold
The Oily Gulf
Forests as a Tsunami Shield
Finding the Past
Of Lice and Old Clothes
Writing on eggshells
An Ancient Childhood
Fish
Flashlight Fishes
Basking Sharks
Bull Sharks
Food and Nutrition
Making good, brown fat
Recipe for Health
The Essence of Celery
GSAT English Rules
Subject and Verb Agreement
Capitalization Rules
Whoever vs. Whomever
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
March 21-22, 2013: Over 43,000 students will take the GSAT Exam
How are students placed after passing the GSAT exam
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
GSAT Mathematics
10 Common Mistakes When Preparing for the GSAT Math Test
Detecting True Art
Math of the World
Human Body
Taking the sting out of scorpion venom
A Long Trek to Asia
Nature's Medicines
Invertebrates
Horseshoe Crabs
Ticks
Grasshoppers
Mammals
Wolverines
Cougars
African Warthogs
Parents
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Children and Media
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Physics
Spin, Splat, and Scramble
The Mirror Universe of Antimatter
One ring around them all
Plants
Flower family knows its roots
Farms sprout in cities
Surprise Visitor
Reptiles
Anacondas
Chameleons
Snakes
Space and Astronomy
A Star's Belt of Dust and Rocks
Witnessing a Rare Venus Eclipse
A Planet from the Early Universe
Technology and Engineering
Algae Motors
Musclebots Take Some Steps
A Clean Getaway
The Parts of Speech
Pronouns
Problems with Prepositions
What is a Preposition?
Transportation
Troubles with Hubble
Tinkering With the Basic Bike
Revving Up Green Machines
Weather
In Antarctica watch the heat (and your step)
The Best Defense Is a Good Snow Fence
Weekend Weather Really Is Different
Add your Article

Wrong-way planets do gymnastics

Cartwheels aren’t just for gymnasts anymore — a gang of distant, unusual planets, a team of astronomers say, may have done giant, deep-space cartwheels to get into place. And those cartwheels are making scientists think again about what they know about planet formation. These planets are unusual because they orbit, or move around their stars, backward. In the solar system, all eight major planets (sorry, Pluto!) move around the sun in the same direction: counter-clockwise when looking down on the sun’s north pole. The sun, too, is spinning in that direction. Scientists believe that all the planets in the solar system were formed from the same giant disk of debris — mainly gas and dust — that was slowly moving around the sun billions of years ago. Since the debris was moving, the planets, including Earth, that formed also moved in the same direction as the debris. In addition, the paths of all the planets should be in the same plane. Imagine a giant, flat piece of paper that cuts through the middle of the sun and extends to the end of the solar system. If all the planets orbit in the same plane, then all their orbits will be on that piece of paper. That’s the way it works in the solar system, so astronomers have wondered whether planetary systems around other stars work in the same way. Last summer, astronomers found six planets moving around their host stars in the opposite direction. This finding suggests that scientists may have to think again about how planets form. All six of these planets are “hot Jupiters.” Hot Jupiters are giant — as big as or bigger than Jupiter — and orbit so close to their host stars that they’re blazing hot. These six aren’t the only problematic planets. Some other recently discovered planets orbit in the forward direction around their host stars, but their orbital planes tilt at various angles. At a recent meeting of astronomers in Glasgow, Scotland, Andrew Collier Cameron proposed an explanation for these wrong-way and tilted planets. Cameron, an astronomer at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, suggested that a much larger object —another star, or a giant planet, perhaps — may have come along. Gravity is a force that comes with mass, so planets or stars with more mass have more gravity, and thus a stronger pull on other objects. Large objects have strong gravitational forces, and these strong forces may have affected the way the planets move around their stars. Astronomers believe these forces can be so strong that they cause the planet’s orbit to flip like a jump rope over the star. This effect, called the Kozai mechanism, may explain how a hot Jupiter ends up orbiting backward around its star. It may also explain how the other planets ended up with tilted orbits. Cameron says the wrong-way planets match up with the change his team would have expected from the Kozai mechanism. “That looks very much like what we’re now observing,” Cameron says. “It looks almost too good to be true.” Other scientists say it’s too early to say for certain whether the Kozai mechanism is responsible for the planets’ behavior. “Their data isn’t that definitive to eliminate any other possibilities,” Adam Burrows told Science News. Burrows is a scientist at Princeton University. Astronomers have identified more than 400 exoplanets, and most of them are gas giants, like the hot Jupiters. (Exoplanet is short for “extra-solar planet,” which is a planet outside the solar system.) Astronomers would like to find a small, rocky planet not too far from or too close to its star — one that looks a lot like Earth. These types of planets are most likely to host life as we know it, so if we find an Earthlike planet, we may find life somewhere else in the universe. Then again, we may not. If Cameron is right, then hot Jupiters on strange orbits may fling rocky debris — debris that would have made a small planet — out of the system. So in a way, more hot Jupiters may mean fewer Earthlike planets. More studies are needed to know for sure why some planets run backward around their host stars.

Wrong-way planets do gymnastics
Wrong-way planets do gymnastics








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™