Black hole hurls star out of Milky Way | 11/18/2019 | Eleanor Imster
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Artist’s concept of the Milky Way’s central, giant black hole flinging a star from our galaxy’s center. Image via James Josephides (Swinburne Astronomy Productions).

A new study by an international team of astronomers has discovered a star traveling at about 4 million miles (more than 6 million km) per hour through the Milky Way. The scientists say the star – named S5-HVs1 – was flung from the center of our galaxy by a supermassive black hole about 5 million years ago, around the time our ancestors here on Earth were just learning to walk upright.

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The star, about 29,000 light-years away, is moving so fast that it will leave the Milky Way in about 100 million years, never to return, said Gary Da Costa, an astronomer at Australian National University (ANU). He is lead author of the study, published November 4, 2019, in the peer-reviewed Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, and said in a statement:

This star is traveling at record-breaking speed – 10 times faster than most stars in the Milky Way, including our sun.

Terms - Star - Galaxy - Emptiness - Space

In astronomical terms, the star will be leaving our galaxy fairly soon, and it’ll likely travel through the emptiness of intergalactic space for eternity. It’s great to be able to confirm a 30-year-old prediction that stars can be flung out of a galaxy by the supermassive black hole at its center.

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Illustration - Royal - Astronomical - Society - Location

An illustration by the Royal Astronomical Society of the location of the hyper-fast star and the direction of its motion....
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