Runaway Hypervelocity Stars Might Be Galactic Orphans

first_imgStay on target Stars are weird things. They’re huge, awesome, powerful, make life possible — all that good stuff. But that good stuff only really happens when they’re stable. You don’t want a finicky star anywhere near you. Nuh-uh. Those things can burp and destroy planets or even explode and wreak havoc for lightyears. But all that stuff is normal star stuff. Stars have life cycles, and sometimes they get all wild. It’s just kinda what they do, right?Yes, but, a select few stars, known as “hypervelocity” stars go through all of that stuff AND are whizzing around at a million kilometers an hour. Which… what the fuck? Yeah. These things really exist. And they are kinda terrifying. We all know what happens when something gets hit by a small chunk of rock moving really fast (hint: it helped a bunch of lizard lookalikes grow into chickens), and these things are fucking STARS moving THOUSANDS OF TIMES FASTER. There aren’t too many of these things around, thank fuck, but it is pretty important to know where these death-monsters come from and what causes them lest we be ripped asunder by one of these hell-demons sometime down the line.A new paper suggests that these special stars might come from our galactic neighbors. “We conclude that hypervelocity runaway stars from the Large Magellanic Cloud, as a consequence of star-formation, are unavoidable,” the study reads.You might hear a lot about Andromeda, our closest proper counterpart, but the Magellanic Clouds are far closer (and smaller). There are a few around, and each hovers pretty close to the Milky Way — some closer than our own galactic core.The scientists analyzed a bunch of data detailing the 20 known hypervelocity stars, and then found with a computer simulation that the Large Magellanic Cloud would spit out one every few hundred thousand years. And that lines up rather neatly with a star we found in 2005. It was zipping along at more than 2.5 million kilometers an hour. Given that the star isn’t the type that lives long enough to get from the galactic core — where many stars are born — to where it was, scientists concluded then that it probably came from the LMC.It seems likely, at least, that the LMC is the source of at least some of these stars. Researchers suspect there may be up to 10,000 flitting about the Milky Way, and if that’s true, some of them may suggest an alternate origin, or perhaps another possible source. Only time (and more science, of course) will tell.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Tune In As Brad Pitt Speaks With NASA Astronaut on ISSNASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This Weekend last_img

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