Astronomers have found a star unique in the galaxy because it has planets orbiting in opposite directions.
The star and its solar system are still forming from a vast disk of dust and gas 500 light years away in the constellation of Ophiuchus.
But radio telescopes in the US have found that the outer disk of material is travelling in a different direction to the inner disk.
Dr Anthony Remijan, of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, in New Mexico, said yesterday: “This is the first time anyone has seen anything like this.
“It means the process of forming planets from disks is much more complex than we expected.”
Nasa colleague Jan Hollis, of the Goddard Space Flight Center, said: “It is quite unlike our own solar system in which all the planets orbit the Sun in the same direction.”
The discovery of the stellar mystery will be announced in the April 1 edition of the Astrophysical Journal.
© Paul Sutherland. Unauthorised reproduction forbidden.