Roundest object ever observed in nature found in space

A star is being reported as the most perfectly spherical object ever observed in nature.
By Jeremy Morrow | Nov 19, 2016
A star is being reported as the most perfectly spherical object ever observed in nature.

When the news was reported that the roundest object in nature had been found, many people had questions about the roundness of other natural objects such as the Earth, Moon, and Sun. The explanation for the shape of many celestial bodies that are often depicted as round is that they are really oblong. Both the Earth and the Sun, for example, bulge at their "equators" due to centrifugal force as they rotate.

The Earth rotates every 24 hours and is 26 miles "wider" than it is "long". The Sun rotates every 27 days and is 12 miles "wider" than it is "long". The newfound star, known as the Kepler 11145123, is only 3.7 miles "wider" than it is long. The Kepler 11145123 is approximately five thousand light years away from the Earth and is approximately twice as "wide" as the Sun is.

"This makes Kepler 11145123 the roundest natural object ever measured, even more round than the sun," said lead scientist, Laurent Gizon from theMax Planck Institute for Solar System Research and the University of Gttingen in Germany.

To determine the roundness of Kepler 11145123, a scientific team observed its natural oscillations through the Kepler space telescope over a period of more than four years beginning in 2009 and ending in 2013. The Kepler telescope was created in order to detect Earth sized planets and is part of the NASA space program. The technique used to determine the physical statusof the star is called asteroseismology.

 

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