Sun, the center of our Solar System enjoys the attention of all planets equally with all of them revolving around it, making it the most important part of their lives. Have you ever wondered whether all planets follow the same pattern while revolving around the Sun? Have you ever given a thought to what direction the planets rotate in? Which planets rotate clockwise, and which rotate counterclockwise? Do you think the direction of the rotation of a planet around the Sun affects its natural cycles, its atmosphere, or anything else of the sort? Well, hold your horses. All your questions will soon be answered in the article that follows. Together let us have a look into all of this and deduce the answers.
How Do Planets Rotate Around The Sun?
The Sun spins in a counter-clockwise direction about its axis and 7 of the 8 planets revolve around the Sun in the same direction as its spin. Also, 6 of the 8 planets rotate about their respective axis in the same counter-clockwise direction. Further, most of the natural satellites or moons of the planets revolve around their planets in a counter-clockwise direction. This is called prograde motion and points to the symmetry in the Universe and in the Solar System. However, the planets that fall out of this symmetry follow a retrograde motion. We’ll know more about which planet follows the retrograde motion with respect to rotation around the Sun further in this article.
Which Planet Rotates Clockwise?
The work has been cut out for us. Out of the 8 planets in our Solar System, only Venus rotates in a clockwise direction around the Sun, whereas the rest 7 follow a counter-clockwise direction. Named after the Roman goddess, Venus is the brightest among all planets when viewed from earth. It is called the earth’s sister planet due to the presence of a terrestrial atmosphere. Why then does it exhibit a behavior opposite to that of the earth in terms of its rotation around the Sun?
The earth revolves around the Sun in an elliptical orbit with an eccentricity varying between 0 and 0.06 at a mean speed of around 30,000 km/s with approximately 23 degrees tilt in its axis. Venus, however, orbits in a nearly circular elliptical orbit of eccentricity 0.007 at a speed of 35.02 km/s with approximately 117 degrees tilt in its axis. Earth completes one rotation around the Sun in nearly 365 days while Venus does so in around 243 days.
Why Does Venus Rotate Clockwise?
There are many theories as to why Venus does not follow the norm of our Solar System and moves in a direction opposite to that of all the other planets. The two popular theories include an asteroid hit and the other one involves the effects of time. According to the first theory, Venus was hit by a very fast-moving asteroid millennia ago which caused it to reverse its direction of rotation. The other theory says that like the other planets, Venus used also rotated in the counter-clockwise direction, but its speed slowed over time and finally reversed in direction. You can consider the example of a twisted rubber band, that unwinds in one direction for a time, then slows down and winds up again in the other direction. This seems to be the more popular theory among astronomers as the monumentally low rotation speed of Venus somehow backs the theory. There is however no concrete proof to either of them. But scientists do seem to rely on the fact that Venus did rotate in the same direction as the other planets initially.
What Are The Effects Of This Opposite Rotation?
First and foremost, the Sun on Venus rises in the west and sets in the east. Venus follows a retrograde rotation i.e. it rotates in a direction opposite to the direction in which the Sun spins. Now, since the axial tilt of Venus is 177 degrees, it is believed that it was hit at a certain point and flipped, which caused its rotation to appear opposite to the viewers. It has however been rotating the same way. These are all theories and postulations. Nothing has yet been proven in regard to Venus. But the placement of Venus in the Solar System, quite near to Sun entails it to experience vast amounts of heat, gravitational pull as well as tidal effects. Who knows whether something really caused Venus to change direction or whether it was always like this.
Is Venus Different?
Well, people have been called different for far less. The fact that a single planet behaves in a matter opposite to the rest is sure to bring up questions, theories, and lots of people willing to explain as to why it is so. However, there might be no scientific reason behind the direction of rotation at all as far as we know. It could just be how the Universe was formed and Venus in it, meant to be unique. So yes, Venus is different, and rightly so. After all, it is named after the Roman goddess of beauty. So, it shines the brightest, has a different direction of rotation, and also has a terrestrial terrain. Some people do worship it, others refer to it as the Morning Star or the Evening Star, yet others simply marvel at its beauty in the night sky.
We hope our article answered all your burning questions regarding which planet rotates clockwise. If there’s something else you want to know related to this article, let us know by commenting below.
You May Also Like To Read:
- How Many Moons Does Mercury Have?
- Which Planet Has The Shortest Day?
- Which Planet Is Closest To Earth?
- How Long Is One Day On Mars