Home / Science / A star ejected from Milky Way's "Heart of Darkness" has reached a breathtaking speed

A star ejected from Milky Way's "Heart of Darkness" has reached a breathtaking speed

When the ancestors of humanity learned to walk upright, a star at a speed of 6 million km / h was shot from the supermassive black hole in the center of our galaxy.

Five million years after this dramatic eruption, a research group led by Sergey Koposov of the McWilliams Center for Cosmology at Carnegie Mellon University discovered the star S5-HVS1 in the crane-shaped constellation Grus. The star was discovered as it moved relatively close to Earth (29,000 light-years away) at unprecedented speed, approximately ten times faster than most stars in our galaxy.

"The speed of the discovered star is so high that it inevitably leaves the galaxy and never returns," said Douglas Boubert, researcher at Oxford University and co-author of the study, in a statement .

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An artist impression how the star S5-HVS1 is launched from the supermassive Black Hole of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A *.


suggests that black holes can eject stars at very high speeds. However, we never had a clear association of such a fast star with the galactic center, "said Koposov in the statement.

The star was observed with observations of the Anglo-Australian telescope (AAT), a 3.9-meter telescope, and The Gaia satellite was discovered by the Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopic Survey (S5), a collaboration between astronomers from Chile, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

After the star was discovered, the researchers could tracing the star all the way to Sagittarius A *, the black hole in the middle of the Milky Way galaxy, and it is also an incredible example of the Hills mechanism proposed 30 years ago by the astronomer Jack Hills, where stars look for an interaction between a binary system and the black Hole in the center at high speed to be ejected from the centers of galaxies.

The position and direction of the star S5-HVS1 in the night sky. The star shoots away from the center of our galaxy.

(Photo credits: Sergey Koposov)

"This is the first clear demonstration of the active hill mechanism," said Ting Li, an associate of Carnegie Observatories and Princeton University, who led the S5 collaboration, said in the statement. "It's really amazing to see this star because we know it's formed in the Galactic Center, a place that is very different from our local area and is a visitor from a foreign country." To study the stellar streams – destroy dwarf galaxies and globular clusters – we used the available resources of the instrument to find interesting targets in the Milky Way, and we've found something amazing for free. We hope to find more with our future observations! Kyler Kuehn, deputy technology director at Lowell Observatory, which is part of the S5 Executive Committee, added to the statement releases from the Royal Astronomical Society.

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