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The sun rotates every 28 days, and because it doesn't have a solid surface, it should be slightly flattened. This tiny flattening has been studied with many instruments for almost 50 years to learn about the sun's rotation, especially the rotation below its surface, which we can't see directly.
Now Jeff Kuhn and Isabelle Scholl (Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii at Manoa), Rock Bush (Stanford University), and Marcelo Emilio (Universidade Estadual de Ponta Grossa, Brazil) have used the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) onboard the Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite to obtain what they believe is the definitive -- and baffling -- answer.
Because there is no atmosphere in space to distort the solar image, they were able to use HMI's exquisite image sensitivity to measure the solar shape with unprecedented accuracy. The results indicate that if the Sun were shrunk to a ball one meter in diameter, its equatorial diameter would be only 17 millionths of a meter larger than the diameter through its North-South pole, which is its rotation axis.
Originally posted by Druscilla
Stronger gravitation, I would suspect, would lead to more 'perfect' spheres.
Nonetheless, this is pretty cool.
Originally posted by randomname
reply to post by underduck
Well a perfect sphere formed randomly a trillion times over thru out the universe, maybe God is trying to tell us something.
Psst....don't tell the athiests, they don't like science used against them.
So, for their "sanity", the sun evolved from a monkey.
The sphere shape is due to gravity finding the smallest volume in which to fit the most matter.