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When an object

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1When an object  Empty When an object on Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:47 pm


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When an object achieves hydrostatic equilibrium, also known as gravitational relaxation, there are no gravitational imbalances in its surface. A global layer of liquid placed on this surface (assuming for argument's sake it would remain a liquid) would form a liquid surface of the same shape, apart from small-scale surface features such as craters and fissures. This does not mean the body is a sphere; the faster a body rotates, the more oblate or even scalene it becomes, but such forces affect a liquid surface as well. The extreme example of a non-spherical body in hydrostatic equilibrium is Haumea, which is twice as long along its major axis as it is at the poles.

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