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The Sling Star is like a "little brother" of the Launch Star; it has a small range and it does not leave a star trail. It is most commonly used to launch Mario up a cliff or to a very close planet. Mario also uses it to reach objects that are higher up on the ground, such as star chips. They are also smoother than launch stars. If you have vibration on the Wii remote it will not vibrate.
Some people think the longest range a sling star shot is at the Gold Leaf Galaxy, the hidden sling star that slings you from bottom to the top. Others think the longest range is the sling star of the moon of the Good Egg Galaxy in King Kaliente's Battle Fleet.