The Sun Is The Most Perfectly Spherical Natural Object

August 17, 2012


According to a recent study published by space-scientists (astronomists? I've been drinking), our sun is the most perfectly spherical naturally occurring object in the known universe. And here I've been all along thinking it was pool balls. STUPID STUPID STUPID. Science, dead ahead!:

As a spinning ball of gas, astronomers had always expected our nearest star to bulge slightly at its equator, making it very slightly flying-saucer shaped. The planet Jupiter demonstrates this effect well. Its high rate of spin - once every 10 hours - means that it is almost 7% wider across its equator than the distance from pole to pole.

Now a team led by the University of Hawaii's Dr Jeffrey Kuhn have made the first precise measurement of the sun's equatorial bulge, or its "oblateness". The results were a big surprise. "We were shocked," says Kuhn. The sun doesn't bulge much at all. It is 1.4m kilometres across, but the difference between its diameter at the equator and between the poles is only 10 kilometres.

Scaled to the size of a beachball, that difference is less than the width of a human hair. Only an artificial sphere of silicon that was created as a standard for weights is known to be more perfectly spherical.

A couple things, 1. how do other stars compare or are they just too far away to measure? Because it would be pretty vain of us to think our sun is the most perfectly spherical star when there are like, DOZENS more out there. 2. I don't think things made out of gas should be in the running for world's most perfect shape -- it's cheating. Plus, I dunno, maybe somebody farted a more spherical ball of gas one time. Hey, it's possible! Granted not with underwear on, but it IS possible.

Thanks to Almighty_Mare, who agrees TGIF.

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