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The relative rotation periods of planets in 2-D


See our solar system’s planets spin. Though this 29-second video is short and silent, it’s an excellent animated example for observing the relative rotation periods of planets in 2-D. It also lists the length of each planet’s day along the right.

Fun fact: A day on Venus lasts 243 Earth days. A year on Venus lasts 225 Earth days.

The illuminating visual was first uploaded to Twitter by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) planetary scientist Dr. James O’Donoghue, who explains:

In the above are sidereal (relative to the stars) rotation periods, and axial tilts of the planets were surgically removed. This animation below should answer a lot of Qs about tilts/directions of rotations (and hey it’s Pluto again!)…

Click on the animation below to see the tilts in action:

Why do the gas planets rotate so quickly? Donoghue:

The planets spin because they picked up material that was already moving, and angular momentum must be conserved. At the same time, the bigger things are, the more material they must have accreted in the early stages of the solar system. So bigger usually means fast.

Why is Uranus spinning the other direction? A possibility:

Related reading: Why Venus Spins the Wrong Way.

Next, watch these related videos on TKSST:
• Earth’s Rotation & Revolution + Following the Sun
• Why Isn’t It Faster To Fly West?
• One Year on Earth – Seen From 1 Million Miles

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