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Beyond Earthly Skies

Hypervelocity Star Ejected by a Supernova

20 Mar 2015, 22:00 UTC
Hypervelocity Star Ejected by a Supernova
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Hypervelocity stars are a class of stars that travel at such high velocities that the galaxy’s gravitational field cannot contain them. These stars eventually leave the galaxy and continue on into intergalactic space. Many hypervelocity stars have trajectories that start out near the center of the galaxy and were likely yanked out by interactions with the supermassive black hole residing there.US 708 is a hypervelocity star estimated to be travelling at a velocity of about 1,200 km/s. It is currently the fastest unbound star known in the galaxy. Basically, the observable motion of a star is comprised of two components - radial motion and proper motion. Radial motion is motion along the line of sight and proper motion is motion across the plane of the sky.Measurements of both the radial and proper motions were used to determine the true velocity of US 708. The radial motion of US 708 was estimated from measurements of the Doppler shift in the star’s spectral lines and the measurements show that the star is moving away rapidly with a speed of about 900 km/s. As for the star’s proper motion, it was estimated based on archival images showing the past positions of US 708.Spectra ...

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