Venus' Opposite Rotation
Name: Mr. Kiper's 5th period class
Age: 5th Grade
Date: 1993 - 1999
Why does Venus rotate in a direction opposite the other planets?
Class, this is a very good question. There is no good reason for the
direction of rotation of any of the planets except what the motion of the matter
locally that formed the planet.
It is actually surprising that so many of the other planets have similar
rotations directions. Since there are only very small forces that slow planets
down, the rotations we see tell us something about the early motion of the
matter in the local region. It is really fun to ask interesting questions. This is what scientists spend
most of their time doing. Keep up the good work.
Samuel P Bowen
The latest ideas I have read about are that planets from dust
particles and similar things hitting each other and sticking together till they
get bigger and bigger. A planet like Venus probably got to be it's present size
from the collision of smaller "planets". The last two small planets to collide in forming the planets
we see today determine it's rotation by how they happen to hit each other. This
is the best idea we have right now, but maybe someday you or someone like you
will come up with a better one.
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Update: June 2012