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VFTS 102: The Fastest Rotating Star Discovered

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 7, 2011


Astronomers have found the fastest rotating star ever spotted.

Young and very bright, VFTS 102 is rotating at more than two million kilometres per hour – more than three hundred times faster than the Sun.

It is around 25 times the mass of the Sun and about one hundred thousand times brighter.

The super star lies in the Large Magellanic Cloud, about 160 000 light-years from Earth.

VFTS 102 is spinning so fast that it has almost reached the point where it could be pulled apart by centrifugal forces.

European Southern Observatory astronomers think that it may have had an unusual and violent past, which saw it ejected from a double star system as its companion star exploded.

“The remarkable rotation speed and the unusual motion compared to the surrounding stars led us to wonder if this star had had an unusual early life. We were suspicious.” explains Philip Dufton of Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK.

Dufton and his team suggest that the if the two stars were close, gas from the companion star could have streamed over VFTS 102, making it spin extraordinarily fast.

After ten million years, the companion could have exploded as a supernova. The clue to that is a supernova remnant found nearby.

The explosion and collapse of the companion star could also have caused this star to turn into the pulsar spotted by ESO.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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