Yesterday I told you how the Milky Way was ingesting smaller galaxies and star clusters. Today, we are going to look at those that were let go.
It is very difficult to kick a star out of the galaxy. In fact, you need to be moving over two-million-miles-per-hour to leave the Milky Way. Even with that astronomers have found 16 of these rouge stars trying to leave the galaxy on their journey to leave the Milky Way. Astronomers believe that these stars could only gain this speed by a close encounter with the super massive black hole at the galaxy’s core.
The image above is a photograph of the super massive black hole, Sgr A* in the Milky Way. Astronomers estimate that the Milky Way’s central black hole has a mass of four million solar masses and calculate that the gravitational field surrounding the black hole is strong enough to accelerate stars to hypervelocities.
Scientist believe that either a binary pair of stars gets caught in the black hole’s grip and as one of the stars spirals towards the black hole, the other is flung outward. Another theory is that when the central black hole is in the process of ingesting a smaller black hole, the star comes too close to the pair gets a hypervelocity kick.
And you thought black holes ate everything.
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I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +