Friday, December 9, 2011

VFTS 102

This is an artist's concept of the fastest rotating star found to date. The massive, bright young star, called VFTS 102 rotates at about two million kilometers per hour. Centrifugal force from this dizzying spin rate has flattened the star into an oblate shape, and spun off a disk of hot plasma, seen edge on in this view from a hypothetical planet. The star may have "spun up" by accreting material from a binary companion star. The rapidly evolving companion later exploded as a supernova. The whirling star lies 160,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way.

Illustration credit: NASA/ESA and G. Bacon (STScI)

Note: For more information and photographs, see VLT Finds Fastest Rotating Star.

Special Note: This is the 500th post here at Ministry of Space Exploration.

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