Monday, March 9, 2015

Hypervelocity Blue Star Record Breaker Streaks Away From Milky Way Galaxy: Propelled by Thermonuclear Supernova

""A hypervelocity star traveling at a speed of 1,200 kilometers per second is heading away from the Milky Way galaxy, boosted by its sibling star’s death as a massive supernova.
The star, known as US 708, was first discovered in 2005 and is supposed to be the remnant of a red giant. Now, scientists at the European Southern Observatory in Garching, Germany, have measured its full 3D speed, relative to the center of the galaxy, with the help of the data of the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea in Hawaii – and it turns out to be breathtaking: 1,200 kilometers a second or 2.7 million miles per hour, W. M. Keck Observatory reported on Thursday.
“At that speed, you could travel from Earth to the moon in five minutes,” one astronomer at the University of Hawaii Eugene Magnier said in a press-release.
The scientists also found out that the star was spinning quickly, at over 100 kilometers per second, which means that in the past it has received an energetic boost. What is also odd about the star is that it has lost its hydrogen, so common explanations suitable for any other previously discovered hypervelocity stars, do not apply.
Hypervelocity stars are those traveling fast enough to escape the gravitational pull of its galaxy.
Usually, the stars that are going fast enough to escape the gravitational grasp of our galaxy resemble the sun and are slower than US 708. They are thought to have once had pairs. However, when one star is sucked in by the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, the other one gets released from the grip of the whole galaxy.""

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