As humanity's ancestors learned to stand upright, the star was fired from a supermassive black hole in the center of our galaxy at a staggering 3.7 million mph (6 million km / h).
Five million years after this dramatic ejection, a group of researchers led by Sergei Koposov of the Carnegie Mellon Center for Cosmology at McWilliams noticed a star known as S5-HVS1 in the crane-shaped constellation. The star was spotted traveling relatively close to Earth (at 29,000 light-years) at an unprecedented, serial speed – about 10 times faster than most stars in our galaxy.
"The speed of the open star is so high that it will inevitably leave the galaxy and will never return," said Douglas Bubert, a researcher at the University of Oxford and co-author of the study, statement .
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"It's super exciting, since we've long suspected that black holes can throw stars at very high speed. However, we never are had an unambiguous connection of such a fast star to the galactic center, "Koposov said in a statement.
The star was discovered by observations from the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT), a 12.8-foot (3.9 meters) telescope and the European Space Agency's Gaia satellite. The discovery was made as part of the Southern Star Stream Spectroscopic Study (S5), a collaboration of astronomers from Chile, the United States, the United States and Australia.
Now that the star has been spotted, researchers could trace the star back to Sagittarius A *, the black hole in the center of the Milky Way. It also serves as an incredible example of the Hills mechanism proposed by astronomer Jack Hills 30 years ago, in which stars are ejected from high-velocity galaxy centers after interaction between a binary star system and a black hole at the center of the galaxy.
"This is the first clear demonstration of the Hills mechanism in action," Ting Li, an associate at the Carnegie Observatories and Princeton University, who oversees the S5 collaboration, said in a statement. "To see this star is really amazing, because we know it must have formed in the galactic center, a place very different from our local environment. This is a visitor from a strange land.
"While the primary scientific goal of the S5 is to investigate stellar flows – destroying dwarf galaxies and ball clusters – we have set aside spare resources for the Purposeful Search tool in the Milky Way and the veil, we have found something amazing for free." With our future observations, we hope to find more! "Kyler Kuehn, Deputy Technology Director at Lowell Observatory, which is part of the S5 Executive Committee, was added to the statement.
This finding was published in a study on November 4 in The Monthly News Royal Astronomical Society.