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News Release Archive:

News Release 139 of 954

December 5, 2011 09:00 AM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-2011-39

Fastest Rotating Star Found in Neighboring Galaxy

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Image: Artist's View of Fastest Spinning Star VFTS 102

Artist's View of Fastest Spinning Star VFTS 102STScI-PRC2011-39a Artist's Concept

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ABOUT THIS IMAGE:

This is an artist's concept of the fastest rotating star found to date. The massive, bright young star, called VFTS 102, rotates at a million miles per hour, or 100 times faster than our Sun does. Centrifugal forces from this dizzying spin rate have 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 our Milky Way.

Image Type: Artwork

Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)

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