Fastest ever star - hurtling along at 1,200km per second - discovered in our galaxy

Astronomers at Queen's University Belfast have discovered a star which has broken the galactic speed record. Stars normally orbit the centre of galaxies because they are bound to them by gravitational forces.

The Milky Way

The Milky Way Image by Dave Young / CC BY 2.0

However the Belfast Telegraph reports that scientists based at the Astrophysics Centre at Queen's were part of a team of scientists from around the world who have located stars with such velocity that they can eventually hurl themselves out of the galaxy altogether.

Queen's University, Belfast

Queen's University, Belfast Image by Supermac1961 / CC BY 2.0

Researchers have been able to identify the Milky Way's quickest 'unbound' star to date. As speed goes, it is hurtling along at an impressive 1,200km per second. The star, labelled US708, has in fact been recorded as possessing the fastest speed ever recorded for such an object in our galaxy which means that as it is not restricted by gravity, it will exit the Milky Way eventually.

Dr Rubina Kotak and Ken Smith led the team who unearthed the ground-breaking discovery. They did so with the aid of data gathered particularly by the Pan-STARRS1 telescope on Mount Haleakala in Hawaiian.

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