This is the fastest spinning star in the universe yet. Rotating at a mind-blowing 1.6 million kilometres per hour, it's so fast that its shape is not a sphere anymore. They call it VFTS 102. I call it Burger Star.
Twenty times larger than our sun, Burger Star rotates 100 times faster than our very own ball of exploding hydrogen. Its rotational speed causes enormous centrifugal forces, so incredibly powerful that they have turned it into an oblate spheroid that is more similar to a perfect burger than the usual fire basketball. Around its centre you can see a disk of plasma, which is also a result of the speed.
I like to think that plasma is made of mustard and cheddar cheese.
Burger Star is nested inside the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way located just 160,000 light-years away. It's 25 time larger than the sun and 100,000 times brighter. Since its rotational speed and motion is not normal, astronomers think that it had a very peculiar genesis, perhaps the result of a violent explosion of a binary star.
According to lead paper author Philip Dufton of Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland, "the remarkable rotation speed and the unusual motion compared to the surrounding stars led us to wonder if this star had an unusual early life. It was suspicious."
The theory is that one of the stars may have exploded as a supernova, sending the other into this mad trip across the Universe. Dufton says that this "is a compelling story because it explains each of the unusual features that we've seen. This star is certainly showing us unexpected sides of the short but dramatic lives of the heaviest stars."
Truly fascinating. Also, now I'm hungry. [Hubble]