Astroquizzical: Do all planets rotate in orbit around their stars? (Synopsis)

When you think about our world and our place in the Solar System, you very likely think about Earth, spinning on its axis, with the Moon orbiting around it, and with the entire Earth-Moon system orbiting the Sun.

But did you know thatĀ allĀ of it — the Earth spinning on its axis, the Moon revolving around Earth, the Earth revolving around the Sun, and even the Sun spinning on its own axis — spins in the same direction? If you floated “above” the north pole of Earth, everything would rotate counterclockwise. It makes you wonder, as one of Jillian Scudder’s questioners did:

Do all planets rotate as they go around their stars? Do they all rotate in the same direction (e.g. clockwise or anticlockwise?) Or does it just depend on what started them rotating in the first place?

Image credit: Calvin J. Hamilton.
Image credit: Calvin J. Hamilton.

It’s a great question, and there’s a great Astroquizzical answer to go along with it!