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Astronomers Discovered Six Speeding Stars Racing Through Milky Way

Feb 14, 2013 13:10 IST

Astronomers in the third week of February 2013 discovered six speeding stars which were racing through the space at a speed of 3.2 million kilometres per hour. These stars were ejected from the huge black hole which sits in the middle of Earth’s galaxy, Milky Way.

These stars represented the first-known hypervelocity stars that have mass just like that of Earth’s Sun. The discovery is said to be very important because it would reveal how stars were formed in the dust-cloaked core of Milky Way.

The core of Milky Way is actually cloaked in dust which makes all stars unclear from telescopes of the astronomers, except the brightest stars. But these hypervelocity stars were useful in providing a peep into how star formation took place in the depths of Milky Way.

This is so because it is believed that the hypervelocity stars form when the black holes in the centre of Milky Way consume one star in binary system and ejects other (its twin), throwing it through the space at extremely high speed.

The astronomers explained that these stars were highly fast-moving objects which were gravitationally unbound to Earth’s galaxy. Even though these stars were in proximity to black holes, but they were not cloaked by dust and so they could be identified using telescopes easily. Identifying these stars could help in revealing the kind of star formation that took place in galactic centre.

Astronomers at University of Hawaii in their study made use of the data from Palomar 5-metre telescope in California. In their study they discovered 130 stars in Milky Way which were traveling at a fast pace. Then the astronomers narrowed down the group of stars which were traveling at extremely fast speed with ejection from centre of Milky Way galaxy. Six of the stars met this criterion.

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Read more Current Affairs on: Astronomers , Milky Way , Stars

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