DEC 02, 2016 8:40 AM PST

Astronomers Find the Roundest Natural Object in the Universe to Date

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

It’s not exactly easy to find perfectly round spatial bodies anywhere in our universe, and that has to do with the fact that most objects are just deformed from their creation and the weathering of collisions and because physics acts on objects that spin.
 
In the case of stars, they’re not perfectly round. Just about all of them are longer across their equator than they are from pole to pole; in the case of our Sun, the star is about 6 miles longer across the equator than it is from pole to pole.
 

The Sun is not perfectly round, but a new star has a much rounder body than our Sun.

  Image Credit: Mark A. Garlick

Why does this oblateness happen? It turns out that centrifugal force is caused by the object rotating in free space. This causes the object to sling matter away from the center as the object orbits. In addition, the star’s magnetic field also plays a role in its shape.
 
With that being the case, you’re automatically forced into thinking every star in the universe has different centrifugal force properties due to the fact that they all spin at different rates, and so these different stars would have to have different aspect ratios. And you’d be right.
 
Astronomers led by Laurent Gizon from Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Solar System research have used a technique called asteroseismology to determine that a star some 5,000 light years away is the roundest star found in the universe yet.
 
The findings have been published in the journal Science Advances.
 


What makes this star, KIC 11145123, so special is that it’s as close to perfectly round as astronomers have ever seen. This is made possible by its uniquely slow rotation rate of about 100 days, which is approximately three times slower than that of our Sun.

In terms of its oblateness, KIC 11145123 is just 4 miles wider across its equator than its poles, which is an unprecedentedly small distance when you’re talking about a star that’s millions of miles across in diameter.  
 
Equipment aboard the Kepler space observatory made this research possible, and astronomers plan to continue using asteroseismology to study additional stars throughout the universe to study their roundness.
 
It should be interesting to see if we will find more stars in the universe that are rounder than our Sun is, and more importantly, if any of them have a more perfect roundness than KIC 11145123.
 
Source: Engadget

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
APR 07, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Here's The Reason Why Space is Black
APR 07, 2020
Here's The Reason Why Space is Black
Anyone who can tilt their head up enough to glance at the night sky would be able to tell you that outer space looks bla ...
APR 20, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Here's How the ESA's CHEOPS Mission Works
APR 20, 2020
Here's How the ESA's CHEOPS Mission Works
Exoplanetary detections have exploded exponentially since the first discovery of one by Swedish astronomers in 1995. The ...
MAY 05, 2020
Space & Astronomy
How Much Do You Know About the Moon?
MAY 05, 2020
How Much Do You Know About the Moon?
There are literally dozens upon dozens of natural satellites orbiting the planets in our solar system, but only one of t ...
MAY 31, 2020
Space & Astronomy
SpaceX Demo-2 Mission Docks Safely with International Space Station
MAY 31, 2020
SpaceX Demo-2 Mission Docks Safely with International Space Station
SpaceX and NASA gave the green light for the precedent-setting Demo-2 mission Saturday afternoon, officially bringing cr ...
JUL 19, 2020
Space & Astronomy
See Comet NEOWISE Before It Departs for 6,800 Years
JUL 19, 2020
See Comet NEOWISE Before It Departs for 6,800 Years
The NEOWISE comet will get closest to Earth on July 22 and will begin to fade from view after that.
JUL 26, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Scientists Reveal the Biggest-Ever 3D Map of the Universe
JUL 26, 2020
Scientists Reveal the Biggest-Ever 3D Map of the Universe
After five years of research, an international team over 100 astrophysicists from around 30 institutions worldwide has r ...
Loading Comments...