Scientists discover curious star that crosses Milky Way at speed of 2.1 million km/h

June 19, 2024  22:15

Astronomers from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), together with amateur scientists, have discovered an unusual wandering star flying through space at a speed of 2.1 million kilometers per hour. This is approximately 1,500 times faster than the speed of sound in the Earth's atmosphere. A study dedicated to this discovery was published on the official UCSD website.

The object, named J1249+36, belongs to the class of L-subdwarfs. These stars are characterized by very low mass and relatively low temperatures, which makes them extremely rare and interesting for research.

Researchers are not entirely sure what exactly caused such a significant acceleration of the star J1249+36. One theory is its “escape” from a binary star system in which the companion was a white dwarf, the remnant of an extinct star. In such systems, white dwarfs sometimes begin to “feed” on the matter of the companion star, which can lead to an uncontrolled thermonuclear reaction and a supernova explosion. As a result of such an explosion, the companion star can be ejected with significant acceleration.

The second possible scenario suggests that J1249+36 could have originated in a globular cluster, a dense and compact group of stars that may contain black holes of various masses. When a star interacts with a binary black hole system, the complex dynamics of the interaction can eject the star from the cluster. Kyle Kremer, an assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UCSD, said his team's simulations showed the possibility of such rare interactions that could push a low-mass subdwarf out of a globular cluster.

Regardless of which scenario actually occurs, the discovery of star J1249+36 provides scientists with a rare opportunity to study hypervelocity stars. Such objects can shed light on processes occurring in space and help understand the dynamics of interactions between stars and black holes.

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