After 50 years of research, we've discovered a strange, beautiful fact about our Sun: it's more perfectly round than anything else in the natural world. It's not the roundest in a certain category; it's just the roundest sphere there is. If it were a beach ball, The Guardian writes, it would be a hair's width away from complete perfection.
Most planets exhibit some sort of a bulge at their equator because of their rotations. Jupiter's spin, for example, makes it about 7 percent wider. So you'd naturally think the Sun shared some of those properties, but you'd be wrong--the bulge at the Sun's equator turned out to be relatively minuscule. The Sun is about 1.4 million kilometers across. The distortion at its equator? A mere 10 kilometers. The only thing we know of that's rounder is a manmade, artificial silicon sphere.
Until recently, Earth's atmosphere distorted our view in such a way that we couldn't get accurate measurements. Using instruments from Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory, scientists were finally able to. University of Hawaii's Jeffrey Kuhn, who led the team behind the measurements, told The Guardian that the observations were clues to the Sun's interior, which moves at different speeds in different areas. An accurate measurement can help us understand how those speeds are distributed.
I thought Neutron Stars were the most perfectly spherical objects because of their high gravity?
So wouldn't all comparably sized stars be just as round, or as blackspike put it, even rounder in some cases? Seems like "in the solar system" is more accurate than "in the Universe".
*ahem* an electron?
@kryo i was just thinking that, an electron according to sixty symbols would be like a beach ball the size of the earth being off by half a hair's width. hows that for perfectly natural eh?
to mars or bust!
So, we've measured everything in the Universe in order to come up with this conclusion? That has to be one of the dumbest things I've heard in awhile.
"I thought Neutron Stars were the most perfectly spherical objects"
There is theory and what we can observe and measure. I am sure there are theoretical objects that should (when observed at definition enough to be measured) prove more round, but perhaps this article is saying that in "Man's observable universe" of the things that are a.) Naturally occurring and b.) spherical, that the Sun is by far the most round.
So yeah! All hail Amun-Ra the really really round one.
Hey guys, I'm pretty sure that if the atmosphere has been distorting the view of our own star, it has been distorting our view of all other stars. So i'm pretty sure what this article means is that Sol is the most perfectly spherical sphere occurring in nature that we have yet measured. As for electrons, we don't know they are spherical, that's just the way your chemistry book portrays them in pictures. Consider string theory; they may not be spherical at all.
Interesting and well ROUNDED article!;)
@kyro + ghost: an electron cannot be declared round because there is no actual way to see it - therefore no way to measure the 'roundness'. in other words - shenanigans.
an atom could be considered a perfect sphere, since the electrons orbiting it - at 6 million times a second - are bound by the electromagnetic force to a precise max distance from the nucleus.
Super massive black hole, FTW!!!
Who comes up with these headlines?
Of the estimated 6 x 10^22 stars in the observable universe, we have measured the roundness of one. Therefore it must be the roundest star in the universe.
Somebody get this guy/gal a helmet.
Yes, of all the planets the sun is by far the roundest star.
How could we not have noticed that?
I would think, round is reality to location, space and time and since all things are moving and changing, round would be only a single moment in time, captured by the individual observing it and then in the next moment as the cosmos with ourselves changing, round is gone.
If not for the unevenness of things, gravity would be equal in the cosmos, so stars would not even begin and all the other things that happen after the stars would not of occured. It would of been a very different place.
But with unevenness or with chaos, gravity was able to pull matter together and then begin the great cosmic mix and creations of things ... even us, too.
Oh, but I still believe in GOD. ;)
Mmmm, at the center of black holes-singularity and the center of what is believed to be the big bang or another extreme black hole, the details and math does not exist, being our current rules of reality do not apply. Even space itself did not exist prior to the big bang; big bang may of happen just once or it repeats many times; or many more big bangs might be happening in an every wide void, beyond our understanding.
It’s all a mystery.
Should be "The Sun Is the Most Perfect Naturally-Occurring Sphere Measured by Man" and should also list some thing we'd expect to be rounder but aren't - like planets, marbles, and dippin' dots.
who many stars have we examined that are less an a light year away? wouldnt be surprised if there was a oval shaped star. of perfect square star.
"You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes." -Morpheus
Being a rockhound, I've found some pretty round rocks, enough for me to easily believe that there are more than a few perfect spheres right here on Earth at any given time. Of course, nothing retains perfection, not a stone, and not a star.