The monster black hole at the Milky Way’s heart isn’t the only celestial beast capable of booting stars out of the galaxy, a new study suggests.
By Mike Wall | SPACE.com
Astronomers traced the trajectory of a huge „hypervelocity star“ backward through time. They found that the star, known as LAMOST-HVS1, got its speed kick in the Milky Way’s disk, not near the galactic core where the supermassive black hole lurks, as had previously been suspected, a new study reports.
„This discovery dramatically changes our view on the origin of fast-moving stars,“ study co-author Monica Valluri, an astronomy professor at the University of Michigan, said in a statement.
„The fact that the trajectory of this massive, fast-moving star originates in the disk rather that at the galactic center indicates that the very extreme environments needed to eject fast-moving stars can arise in places other than around supermassive black holes,“ Valluri added.
Hypervelocity stars zoom through space at speeds exceeding 1 million mph (1.6 million km/h) — more than twice as fast as their „normal“ cousins. These speedsters are pretty rare; astronomers first spotted one in 2005 and have cataloged fewer than 30 since then.