Space Image: Fastest rotating star found in neighboring galaxy

December 30, 2011
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)

This artist's concept pictures 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 .

The rapidly evolving companion later exploded as a supernova.

The whirling star lies 160,000 light-years away in the , a of the Milky Way.

Explore further: Chandra Finds Long-Sought Link to Origin of Millisecond Pulsars

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