Soderblom, David Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland.
Last reviewed:January 2021
- Early-type stars
- Late-type stars
- Very low mass stars and brown dwarfs
- Presence of planets
- Solar rotational history
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The spinning of stars, due to their angular momentum. Stars do not necessarily rotate as solid bodies, and their angular momentum may be distributed nonuniformly, depending on radius or latitude. However, it is nearly impossible to resolve the surfaces of stars, or see their interiors, and the limited ability to observe them means that their rotation is generally expressed as a single number, νeq sin i. In this measured quantity, νeq is the star's equatorial rotational velocity (in kilometers per second), and i is the angle between the star's rotation axis and the line of sight to the star. In other words, νeq sin i is the component of a star's rotation that is projected onto the line of sight between the star and the observer. Measurements of νeq sin i in stars range from as little as 1 km s−1 (0.6 mi s−1) up to 400 km s−1 (250 mi s−1) or more. A more physically useful measure of rotation is Ω, a star's angular velocity, or Prot, the rotation period (the inverse of Ω). In some cases it is possible to measure Prot directly. See also: Angular momentum; Star
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