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Scientists Discover Roundest Object in the Universe

Nov 18, 2016 07:04 AM EST
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Geometry is omnipresent in nature, and as human beings, we have always been fascinated with different geometrical shapes since life started on this planet. Scientists have so far found many examples of perfect geometry in nature. However, they have not been successful in finding a perfectly formed sphere.

While the stars, moon, sun and other planets appear to be round, the fact is that they are getting squished, skewed, and flattened with every axial rotation. But scientists have recently discovered a star that is so round that many have started hailing it as the most spherical object in the universe. Kepler 11145123 (KIC 11145123) is the perfect spherical star located around 5,000 light-years from our planet.

Led by Laurent Gizon, an astronomer at the University of Göttingen in Germany and Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, the team used a technique known as asteroseismology to find out how spherical it is. To their surprise, they found that the sphere, which rotates relatively slowly, doesn't change its shape as it spins on its axis. According to the researchers, its roundness is so attractive that it is the most spherical object in nature discovered by science. Gizon said that it's even rounder than the sun. The finding has led to a number of questions.

The technique used by the researchers allows them to measure the oscillation of stars and use the generated information to find out how oblate it is. In other words, it helps to find out the degree of compression or flattening a sphere or circle has. When planets and stars spin on their axis, they are subjected to centrifugal forces. As a result, the equatorial regions of these planets are pulled away from the center of rotation.

The researchers state that the rate of rotation of KIC 11145123 is thrice slower than the Sun, but is twice the size. Michael Byrne, an editor at Motherboard, stated that the technique is based on the ability to segregate the frequencies of acoustic waves radiating from the interior of stars. By using these frequencies, they found that the exterior layers of this particular star are rotating faster compared to its core, which can be the reason for the unusually round shape, added Byrne.

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