“The fact that [the planets] appear to be coplanar means that maybe it wasn’t a dynamically violent mechanism that caused them to migrate, maybe it was the disc,” Chris Watson of Queen’s University Belfast, told New Scientist. “So then, you have to look at how did you end up with the star and the planet-forming disc tilted in the first place?”
Maria Hjorth and Simon Albrecht from Aarhus University in Denmark made the discovery, and published their findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday.
In planetary systems, it’s generally expected planets and their stars rotate in the same direction. Take our own solar system, for example.
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The two planets orbiting K2-290 A exist on the same plane, so explaining the direction difference becomes a little more complex.
The K2-290 system contains a total of three stars, with two planets orbiting its main star, K2-290 A. The interesting part? K2-290 A is rotating at a 124 degree tilt compared to the two planets that orbit it. Meaning it’s rotating in the opposite direction.
“The unique aspect of K2-290 is that a companion star has been detected (K2-290 B),” read the study, “with properties that make it a good candidate for the misalignment of the protoplanetary disk.”
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There have been a few stars discovered that spin differently to a planet that orbits them, but a recent study has found one star rotating in the opposite direction to not one, but two planets in its system.