News Release Archive:

News Release 289 of 1051

July 22, 2010 09:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2010-19

Hyperfast Star Was Booted from Milky Way


Image: Triple-star System Passes near Milky Way's Central Black Hole

Triple-star System Passes near Milky Way's Central Black Hole

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This illustration shows one possible mechanism for how the star HE 0437-5439 acquired enough energy to be ejected from our Milky Way galaxy.

In this scenario, a triple-star system, consisting of a close binary system and another outer member bound to the group, is orbiting near the galaxy's monster black hole. One star is captured by the black hole and the tightly bound pair gets ejected from the galaxy. As the duo speeds through the galaxy, one member evolves more quickly and consumes the other. The resulting rejuvenated star, massive and very blue, is called a blue straggler.

Object Name: HE 0437-5439

Image Type: Illustration

Illustration Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI)

Science Credit: NASA, ESA, O. Gnedin (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), and W. Brown (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass.)


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