New Type of Hypervelocity Star Found: Just Passing Through

hypervelocity star galaxy

Hypervelocity stars come and go as they please. http://www.dailygalaxy.com/

A brand new type of star has been discovered by graduates at Vanderbilt University. It is a new type of hypervelocity star, one that may not be from our galaxy.

According to Vanderbilt University graduate student Lauren Palladino, lead author on the study,

These new hypervelocity stars are very different from the ones that have been discovered previously. The original hypervelocity stars are large blue stars and appear to have originated from the galactic center. Our new stars are relatively small – about the size of the sun – and the surprising part is that none of them appear to come from the galactic core.

Astrophycists have discovered hypervelocity stars before.  They are stars that move fast enough (at least 1 million miles per hour relative to the motion of the galaxy) to escape the gravitational grip of the Milky Way. Usually the stars attain their incredible speed by passing close to the mega blackhole (massing approximately 4 million suns) at the center of our galaxy and being ejected out into the void. These new hypervelocity stars, however, are clearly not originating from the center of the galaxy. In fact, they appear to be originating from far outside it.

hypervelocity star milkway

Our home sweet home.

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By tracing a star’s trajectory and current position over the course of several weeks astrophysicists can construct a route that the star must have traveled on. The anomalous hypervelocity stars had a trajectory straight from nowhereville, Universe. So far 20 hypervelocity stars of the exotic variety have been spotted.

How did these particular stars pick up so much speed if not from the Milky Way’s central black hole? Where exactly are these stars coming from? Most importantly, can we eventually use rogue hypervelocity stars as a form of public interstellar transportation? This far from the galactic center, we would be waiting at the star-stop for an eon at least.

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So, maybe using a hypervelocity celestial body as a form of high speed transportation is unrealistic, but what about living on one? According to one theory, the idea is totally plausible. Many rogue planets are just roaming around the galaxy, swayed this way and that by varying celestial mass and gravity. Ejected planets charging through the void of space could still retain an atmosphere, as well as heat and water with an adequate amount of pressure. It is perfectly possible that there is intelligent life whose lore and language does not contain a sun or moon, or night and day, just the ever-changing stars.

While Earth has a home in the outer reaches of an arbitrary arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, other stars and planets are just passing through. So long…

 

Sources:

http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2014/01/hypervelocity-stars/

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v400/n6739/full/400032a0.html

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