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A Runaway Star Ejected from the Galactic Heart of Darkness

17 Nov 2019, 17:20 UTC
A Runaway Star Ejected from the Galactic Heart of Darkness
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Astronomers have spotted an ultrafast star, traveling at a blistering 6 million km/h, that was ejected by the supermassive black hole at the heart at the Milky Way five million years ago. The discovery of the star, known as S5-HVS1, was made by Carnegie Mellon University Assistant Professor of Physics Sergey Koposov as part of the Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopic Survey (S5). Located in the constellation of Grus - the Crane - S5-HVS1 was found to be moving ten times faster than most stars in the Milky Way."The velocity of the discovered star is so high that it will inevitably leave the galaxy and never return," said Douglas Boubert from the University of Oxford, a co-author on the study.Astronomers have wondered about high velocity stars since their discovery only two decades ago. S5-HVS1 is unprecedented due to its high speed and close passage to the Earth, "only" 29 thousand light years away. With this information, astronomers could track its journey back into the center of the Milky Way, where a four million solar mass black hole, known as Sagittarius A*, lurks."This is super exciting, as we have long suspected that black holes can eject stars with very high velocities. However, ...

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