New Exoplanets found to orbit backwards
Astronomers know that a star and its planets form from the collapse of a swirling cloud of gas and dust. Until now it was believed that the clouds rotation meant that the spin of the host star, and the orbit of any planets around it, would have to be in the same direction due to a law of physics called the 'conservation of momentum'.
However, a team of European astronomers found that 6 of the 27 transiting planets they sampled, i.e. ones that pass in front of their parent stars, did the opposite.
The discovery has serious consequences for other planets that may have formed in the system, because calculations suggest that having a large rogue planet can disturb the orbits of other planets and lead to them being spat out into space or consumed by the parent star.
These newly discovered planets bring the total number of exoplanets found since 1992 to 452.