What is behind the stars' high speed ? Image Credit: NASA / A. Fujii
Astronomers have identified a mysterious group of 20 sun-sized stars travelling at high speed.
Hypervelocity stars can occur when a binary star system is caught by a black hole, which under the correct circumstances can cause one of the stars to be sucked in towards it and the other to be flung off out in to space at a speed fast enough to break free from the galaxy's gravitational pull.
Over the last ten years astronomers have identified 18 of these stars originating from the super-massive black hole at the center of our galaxy, yet more recently they have also discovered 20 additional examples that don't appear to have come from the galactic core.
These sun-sized hypervelocity stars represent something of a mystery as there is no clear explanation as to how they came to be traveling so quickly. With speeds of more than one million miles per hour relative to the galaxy however it is only a matter of time before these super-fast celestial bodies end up leaving the Milky Way entirely.
Source: Popular Science | Comments (12)