Fr.: vitesse de rupture
The velocity of a → rotating star at which the → centrifugal force equals the → gravitational force. Also known as → critical velocity. The simplest expression of the break-up velocity for an OB star, ignoring the → Eddington luminosity, is given by the relation: v = (GM / R)1/2, where M and R are the mass and radius of the star respectively, and G the → gravitational constant. A more realistic expression takes into account not only the → radiation pressure, but also the non-uniformity of the brightness over the stellar surface, as indicated by → von Zeipel theorem. With these conditions, the break-up velocity has a more complicated formula, corresponding to the velocity reached when somewhere on the star the → total gravity becomes zero.