Thanks to the technology advancements, we are able to unlock the secrets and mysteries of universe which keep on grabbing our attention every now and then. Recently, the astronomers have spotted a star hurtling through the galaxy at a speed of 1,200 kilometers per second. It is a compact helium star having an unusual origin. Researchers opine that it is the fastest unbound star in the galaxy which has been set in motion by a former companion, instead of the black hole at the center of our galaxy. The research has appeared in the journal Science.
The star, known as US 708, was originally a giant red star and a white dwarf was its partner. Its velocity, trajectory and rotation have been measured by the researchers at the European Southern Observatory and it has been found that it began its life as one half of a close binary pair, two stars that closely orbited one another. When the orbit of these two stars began to tighten, the red giant transferred its helium to the white dwarf. Eventually, the helium ignited and the white dwarf exploded.
The explosion as well as the loss of its bond sent US 708 hurtling into space. Stephan Geier, an astronomer at the observatory and lead author of the study explained “Imagine you go to a fair and ride a carousel, and the carousel goes round and round, and then the carousel explodes. What happens to you? You go flying away because your seat has such high velocity.” At this speed, the star is expected to leave the Milky Way in about 25 million years. The finding has been reported by a group of scientists at the European Southern Observatory that is situated in Chile.