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Scientists discover roundest object ever spotted in universe

Scientists discover roundest object ever spotted in universe

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A distant star some 5,000 light-years from Earth has attained a newfound status as the roundest natural object ever discovered in the universe.

While still not a perfect sphere, Kepler 11145123 is only about 4 miles bigger at the equator than at the poles, according to a new study. That is astonishingly small compared to the star’s average diameter of 2 million miles.

While the star is over twice the size of the sun, it is "significantly more round than the sun," said Laurent Gizon of Germany's Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research who lead the study published Wednesday in Science Advances.

Stars and planets are not perfect spheres. Instead, they tend to flatten out in the middle when they rotate due to centrifugal force. The sun is six miles bigger at the equator than at the poles, while the Earth is 13 miles bigger at the equator.

 

Astronomers used instruments aboard the Kepler space observatory to conduct the research. The technique used to measure the size of the star is relatively new and allowed astronomers to determine its size with unprecedented precision.

"We intend to apply this method to other stars observed by Kepler," Gizon said. "An important theoretical field in astrophysics has now become observational."

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