Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Star on the Run

10.11.2005


Speeding Star Observed with VLT Hints at Massive Black Hole


Star Ejected from the Large Magellanic Cloud (Artist’s Impression)



Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers [1] have recorded a massive star moving at more than 2.6 million kilometres per hour. Stars are not born with such large velocities. Its position in the sky leads to the suggestion that the star was kicked out from the Large Magellanic Cloud, providing indirect evidence for a massive black hole in the Milky Way’s closest neighbour. These results will soon be published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters [2].

“At such a speed, the star would go around the Earth in less than a minute!”, says Uli Heber, one of the scientists at the Dr. Remeis-Sternwarte (University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany) and the Centre for Astrophysics Research (University of Hertfordshire, UK) who conducted the study.


The hot massive star, (named HE 0437-5439), was discovered in the framework of the Hamburg/ESO sky survey far out in the halo of the Milky Way, towards the Doradus Constellation (“the Swordfish”).

“This is a rather unusual place for such a star: massive stars are ordinarily found in the disc of the Milky Way”, explains Ralf Napiwotzki, another member of the team. “Our data obtained with the UVES instrument on the Very Large Telescope, at Paranal (Chile), confirm the star to be rather young and to have a chemical composition similar to our Sun.”

The data also revealed the high speed of the star, solving the riddle of its present location: the star did not form in the Milky Way halo, but happens to be there while on its interstellar – or intergalactic – travel.

“But when we calculated how long it would take for the star to travel from the centre of our Galaxy to its present location, we found this to be more than three times its age”, says Heber. “Either the star is older than it appears or it was born and accelerated elsewhere”, he adds.

As a matter of fact, HE0457-5439 lies closer to one of the Milky Way satellite galaxies, the Large Magellanic Cloud, located 160,000 light-years away from us. The astronomers find it likely for the star to have reached its present position had it been ejected from the centre of the LMC. This could imply the existence of a massive black hole inside the LMC, in order to have imparted the speeding star the necessary kick.

Another explanation would require the star to be the result of the merging of two stars. In this case, the star could be older that presently thought, giving it time to have travelled all the way from the Milky Way Centre. This scenario, however, requires quite some fine-tuning. The astronomers are now planning new observations to confirm one of the two scenarios.

The full text of this ESO Press release 27/05 and the associated artist’s impression is available at http://www.eso.org/outreach/press-rel/pr-2005/pr-27-05.html

Notes

[1] The astronomers are Heinz Edelmann (Dr. Remeis-Sternwarte of the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany, now at University of Texas, Austin, USA), Ralf Napiwotzki (Centre for Astrophysics Research, University of Hertfordshire, UK), Uli Heber (Dr. Remeis-Sternwarte of the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany), Norbert Christlieb and Dieter Reimers (Hamburger Sternwarte, Germany).

[2] The paper “HE 0437-5439 – an unbound hyper-velocity main-sequence B-type star” by H. Edelmann et al., will appear in a few weeks in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Henri Boffin | alfa
Further information:
http://www.eso.org/outreach/press-rel/pr-2005/pr-27-05.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect
24.05.2017 | Vienna University of Technology

nachricht Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect
24.05.2017 | University of Cologne

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>