Five million years ago, when mankind's ancestors only learned to walk upright, one star was thrown out, the supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way galaxy, with an incredible 3.7 million miles per hour. This month, a group of researchers spotted a super-fast star traveling relatively close to Earth.
The researchers, led by Sergei Koposov of the McQuilliam Center for Cosmology at Carnegie Mellon University, as part of a spectroscopic study of the South Stream (S5), spotted the star – known as the S5-HVS1 – in the S5-HVS1. According to a press release on Tuesday, the star traveled only 29,000 light-years from Earth, or "was practically at the door by astronomical standards."
Researchers say the "runaway" star traveled at speeds about 10 times faster than most other stars in the galaxy. "The speed of the discovered star is so high that it will inevitably leave it [Milky Way] and never go back, "said co-author Douglas Busbert of Oxford University.
"This is super exciting because we have long suspected that black holes can eject stars at very high speeds," Koposov said. "However, we have never had an unambiguous star-studded association with the Galactic Center."
Astronomer Jack Hills suggested it firstcan throw super fast stars at high speeds. But the S5-HVS1 is the first time scientists have actually witnessed the Hills Mechanism in action.
The discovery was made using the 12.8-meter Anglo-Australian telescope and European Space Agency's Gaia satellite observations. The relative closeness of the star provided an "unprecedented" opportunity to find out about the phenomena.
"Seeing this star is really amazing," said Tin Lee Carnegie. "As we know it must be formed in the Galactic Center, a place very different from our local environment. He's a visitor from a strange country. "
Koposov and his team are now able to follow the star's journey back to. They assume that the S5-HVS1 lived with the accompanying star, but when the two were lying too close to , his companion was captured while he was thrown out.
"My favorite part of this discovery is thinking about where this star came from and where he is going," said Alex Jii of Carnegie. "He was born in one of the craziest places in the universe, near a supermassive black hole with many other close star stars; mercy. "