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The Sun Is The Most Perfectly Spherical Natural Object

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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.

There are Comments.
  • Guest

    ★ = O
    That sounds about right.

  • BillGatesIsYourDaddy

    obviously you have not seen my left testicle

  • They haven't seen Karl Pilkington's head.

  • Luisa Brimble

    I thought neutron stars were by far more spherical.

  • $18922249

    If I had to put money on it, I would guess that the election cloud surrounding hydrogen is about perfectly spherical.

  • It's interesting- at least to me- that you joke specifically about a pool ball. I remember reading decades ago that if the Earth were reduced to the size of a billiard ball, it would in fact be smoother than the ball, despite how we assume that the mountains would jut majestically into the sky and defy geometric uniformity.

    I have no idea whether this ancient factoid is actually true. But I do remember wondering how the general landscape would look if I lived on the surface of the pool ball.

  • The sun is a mass of incandescent gas
    A gigantic nuclear furnace
    Where hydrogen is built into helium
    At a temperature of millions of degrees.
    Yo ho, it's hot, the sun is not
    A place where we could live
    But here on earth thered be no life
    Without the light it gives.
    We need it's light
    We need it's heat
    We need it's energy
    Without the sun, without a doubt
    Thered be no you and me.
    The sun is a mass of incandescent gas
    A gigantic nuclear furnace
    Where hydrogen is built into helium
    At a temperature of millions of degrees.
    The sun is hot.
    (It is so hot that everything on it is a gas: iron, copper, aluminum, and many others.)
    The sun is large.
    (If the sun were hollow, a million earths could fit inside. and yet, the sun is only a middle-sized star.)
    The sun is far away.
    (About 93 million miles away, and that's why it looks so small.)
    And even when it's out of sight
    The sun shines night and day.
    The sun gives heat
    The sun gives light
    The sunlight that we see
    The sunlight comes from our own suns
    Atomic energy.
    (Scientists have found that the sun is a huge atom-smashing machine. the heat and light of the sun come from the nuclear reactions of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and helium.)
    The sun is a mass of incandescent gas
    A gigantic nuclear furnace
    Where hydrogen is built into helium
    At a temperature of millions of degrees.

  • GreyGanado

    The sun is a miasma
    Of incandescent plasma
    The sun's not simply made out of gas
    No, no, no

    The sun is a quagmire
    It's not made of fire
    Forget what you've been told in the past

    Electrons are free
    Fourth state of matter
    Not gas, not liquid, not solid

    The sun isn't a red dwarf
    I hope it never morphs
    Into a supernova'd collapsed orb
    Orb, orb, orb

    The sun is a miasma
    Of incandescent plasma
    I forget what I was told by myself
    Elf, elf, elf

    Electrons are free
    Fourth state of matter
    Not gas, not liquid, not solid

    Forget that song
    They got it wrong
    That thesis has been rendered invalid

  • Andrew St. Andrew

    love me some tmbg

  • Andrew St. Andrew

    so solar flares don't exist now?

  • Michael Knight

    bunch a nerds, everyone knows Scarlett Johansson's ta-tas are the most perfect spherical objects in the known universe.

  • Steven Sanchez

    The Sun Is The Most Perfectly Spherical Natural Object
    ya dont say?

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