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Astronomers have discovered a star that rocketing out of the Milky Way at 3.7 million miles per hour because five million years ago it made a close approach to Sagittarius A* (prounounced “A-star”), the super-massive black at the center of the galaxy.
“The velocity of the discovered star is so high that it will inevitably leave the Galaxy and never return”, said Douglas Boubert from the University of Oxford, a co-author on the study.
Astronomers have wondered about high velocity stars since their discovery only two decades ago. S5-HVS1 is unprecedented due to its high speed and close passage to the Earth, “only” 29 thousand light years away. With this information, astronomers could track its journey back into the centre of the Milky Way, where a 4 million solar mass black hole, known as Sagittarius A*, lurks.
Almost certainly there are many such stars. They are just hard to spot.