Have you ever wondered about planets spinning around the sun and never bumping into each other? (a good thing) One of NASA's space telescopes pulled in some information and...
"UCLA astronomers looked at data from NASA's planet-hunting Kepler space
telescope and found that more than 85 percent of alien planets have inclinations
of less than 3 degrees. This means they orbit around a star near the same axis as
other planets in their system."
Not readily understood by the masses. (us regular folks) Talk in pancakes. Folks know pancakes. I know I can relate to pancakes. (with real butter and genuine maple syrup, please)
Enter the pancakes...
"The best mental image for the geometry of planetary systems is somewhere between a crepe
and a pancake," UCLA professor Jean-Luc Margot explained in a statement today (Oct. 15).
"I made pancakes this weekend to verify our analogy. I measured a mean thickness of 7.3 mm
(a little under one-fourth of an inch) and a mean radius of 65 mm (about 2.5 inches).
This corresponds to inclinations of six degrees," Margot said. "So most planetary systems are
flatter than pancakes, by about a factor of two."
Ok, the words are still a little scientificy, but I've got a better idea now of what they're talking about. So, I went hunting for a picture. Voila!
|Our Solar System|
And that's today's science lesson. I hope you've been enlightened.