Belfast Telegraph

Hurtling star found by Belfast scientists smashes galactic speed record

By Linda Stewart

A star discovered by astronomers at Queen's University Belfast has broken the galactic speed record.

Most stars orbit the centre of galaxies as they are bound to it by gravitational forces. But astronomers have also found stars with velocities that will eventually hurl them out of the galaxy altogether.

Now astronomers at Queen's have identified the Milky Way's fastest 'unbound' star to date - and it's hurtling along at an incredible 1,200km per second.

The unbound star, named US708, has clocked up the fastest speed ever recorded for such an object in our galaxy - meaning it is not held back by gravity and will eventually leave the Milky Way.

Dr Rubina Kotak and Ken Smith, from the Astrophysics Centre at Queen's, were part of a team of scientists from across the world who made the ground-breaking discovery using data gathered by the Pan-STARRS1 telescope on Mount Haleakala on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

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