Why the Planets Align: Life Inside Two Differentially Rotating Disks

January was a good month for the planets. Scientists reported theoretical evidence for “Planet 9” and the alignment of Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter in the morning sky encouraged many people to wake up extra early to see the show.

As you likely know, these planetary alignments occur because the solar system is largely shaped like a flattened disk with the ecliptic being the plane that holds Earth’s orbit around the sun. The orbit of Mercury is inclined 7 degrees relative to the

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