Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Mysterious Runaway Star Stymies Scientist

"Astronomers have stumbled onto a runaway star inbound to our galaxy that might have been kicked out of our nearest galactic neighbor by a supermassive black hole.

The star, HE 0437-5439, was found on a star survey and initially led its discoverers to suspect their instruments were out of whack.

'We first thought our wavelength calibration was off,' said astronomer Ralf Napiwotzki of the University of Hertfordshire's Center for Astrophysics Research in the U.K.

The light from the star was both the wrong color (wavelength) for where the star is located and showed spectral signs that it is traveling inbound to the Milky Way at an unusually high speed -- about 1.6 million miles per hour (2.6 million kilometers per hour). "

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