New ultraviolet observations indicate a Milky Way star is spinning nearly 200 times faster than Earth’s sun, the probable result of a merger between two sun-like stars whose binary orbit recently collapsed, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder astronomer.
The yellow giant, known as FK Comae Berenices, or FK Com, is 10 times larger than the sun and is emitting spectacular amounts of X-rays, ultraviolet light and radio waves as it rotates furiously, said Senior Research Associate Thomas Ayres of CU-Boulder’s Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy.
Dubbed the "King of Spin" by the research team, FK Com is the namesake of a rare class of fast-rotating yellow giants noted for high levels of coronal magnetic activity, said Ayres. "FK Com objects are oddballs because most giant stars rotate very slowly. That’s why many theorists now believe binary mergers are the best way to explain the existence of these rare, ultra-fast rotators," he said.
Thomas Ayres | EurekAlert!
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