Bob Berman's strange universe: The masked ball
August 2005: The sphere is the universe's most common shape. Why don't stars instead look like disks, cigars, or cubes?
August 1, 2005
|Some of us will take breaks from this month's midnight meteors to look through telescopes. We'll peer at all sorts of shapes. |
For untold millennia, people gazed at a sky dominated by two perfectly round objects. But now, through telescopes, we rarely see anything truly round. Jupiter's wild 28,000-mph rotation gives its equator a pronounced bulge. Saturn is even more oval. Venus and Mars currently show gibbous phases. Clusters, stars, galaxies none of them looks perfectly round either.
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