Do Planets Orbit in the Same Direction?

planets-orbit-same-direction Credit: Lauren Burke/The Image Bank/Getty Images

All eight planets in the solar system orbit the sun in the same direction and on roughly the same orbital plane. Viewed from a point over Earth's north pole, the planets circle the sun in a counter-clockwise direction.

Planets are not the only objects in the solar system to orbit in this counter-clockwise way. Between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, for example, exists a belt of minor planets known as asteroids, nearly all of which follow a similar path around the sun. Outer solar system objects, such as the icy worlds of the Kuiper Belt, also orbit in this way. Comets, on the other hand, arrive in the inner solar system from random angles, suggesting more chaotic orbits among the trillion comets of the Oort Cloud.