When stars and their orbiting plants wander too close to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, their encounter with the black hole's gravitational force can either capture them or eject them from the galaxy, like a slingshot, at millions of miles per hour.
Although their origin remains a mystery and although they are invisible, black holes found at galaxy centers make their presence known through the effects they have on their celestial surroundings. The Milky Way's black hole, a monster with a mass four million times that of the Sun, feeds on some of its neighbors and thrusts others out into the intergalactic void.
It's the expelled objects that "become hypervelocity planets and stars," say Ginsburg. "What we learn from these high-speed travelers has significance for our understanding of planetary formation and evolution near the central black hole."
Ginsburg, along with his doctoral adviser Professor Gary Wegner, and Harvard Professor Abraham Loeb are publishing a paper in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. It describes how the team constructed computer simulations of these hypervelocity bodies as a means to understanding the dynamics involved. "The paper is a 'call to arms' for other astronomers to join the search," Ginsburg announces.
Born in Israel, Ginsburg came to the United States as a child and grew up as a Midwesterner. After high school in Lawrence, Kan., graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and studies at Harvard, Ginsburg came to Dartmouth almost five years ago.
For the origin of hypervelocity bodies, Ginsburg and his colleagues point to the close interaction of a binary star system—two stars orbiting a common center—with a massive black hole. The likely scenario is the black hole draws one of the pair into its gravitational well while simultaneously ejecting the other at 1.5 million miles per hour. More than 20 of these hypervelocity stars have been identified in the Milky Way.
"You can also have a lone hypervelocity planet, peeled away from its star and ejected from the black hole. The same mechanism that produces a hypervelocity star produces a hypervelocity planet," Ginsburg explains. "But because it is so small and traveling up to 30 million miles per hour, it cannot be seen. That doesn't mean they won't eventually be found, but currently it is beyond the limitations of our technology."
Ginsburg contends, however, that you could see a hypervelocity star ejected with planets still in tow. In this case, you might be able to see the planets as they cross in front of the star like an eclipse, appearing as a dip in its light curve. While the paper discusses the lone hypervelocity planets, it also draws attention to the planets rotating around the hypervelocity stars.
"That is something that we can detect now," Ginsburg says, "which I think makes it very interesting. … As of yet nobody has looked for these planets transiting hypervelocity stars. We are telling people in this paper that you should look for these."
Joseph Blumberg | EurekAlert!
Studying electrons, bridging two realms of physics: connecting solids and soft matter
18.02.2020 | Tokyo University of Science
Broadband transmission-type coding metasurface for electromagnetic beam forming and scanning
17.02.2020 | Science China Press
Most natural and artificial surfaces are rough: metals and even glasses that appear smooth to the naked eye can look like jagged mountain ranges under the microscope. There is currently no uniform theory about the origin of this roughness despite it being observed on all scales, from the atomic to the tectonic. Scientists suspect that the rough surface is formed by irreversible plastic deformation that occurs in many processes of mechanical machining of components such as milling.
Prof. Dr. Lars Pastewka from the Simulation group at the Department of Microsystems Engineering at the University of Freiburg and his team have simulated such...
Investigation of the temperature dependence of the skyrmion Hall effect reveals further insights into possible new data storage devices
The joint research project of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that had previously demonstrated...
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, recently completed a 5-year research project looking at how to make fibre optic communications systems more energy efficient. Among their proposals are smart, error-correcting data chip circuits, which they refined to be 10 times less energy consumptive. The project has yielded several scientific articles, in publications including Nature Communications.
Streaming films and music, scrolling through social media, and using cloud-based storage services are everyday activities now.
After helping develop a new approach for organic synthesis -- carbon-hydrogen functionalization -- scientists at Emory University are now showing how this approach may apply to drug discovery. Nature Catalysis published their most recent work -- a streamlined process for making a three-dimensional scaffold of keen interest to the pharmaceutical industry.
"Our tools open up whole new chemical space for potential drug targets," says Huw Davies, Emory professor of organic chemistry and senior author of the paper.
Superconductivity approaching room temperature may be possible in hydrogen-rich compounds at much lower pressures than previously expected
Reaching room-temperature superconductivity is one of the biggest dreams in physics. Its discovery would bring a technological revolution by providing...
12.02.2020 | Event News
16.01.2020 | Event News
15.01.2020 | Event News
18.02.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.02.2020 | Information Technology
18.02.2020 | Physics and Astronomy