Scientists have discovered the only space object – a lone star, that has managed to escape the force of a supermassive black hole. This is unique because the gravitational pull in a black hole is supposed to be so strong that nothing can escape from it, not even light. The news about the star which escaped the force of the black hole comes a few months after astronomers across the world showed the first-ever image of a black hole.
Scientists have successfully tracked down the star, named S5-HVS1, which was kicked out of Sagittarius A*, which is a supermassive black hole lurking at the heart of the Milky Way. The supermassive black hole is claimed to be moving at a speed of 1,700 kilometers per second, according to research by a team of space researchers.
According to a research paper titled ‘The Great Escape: Discovery of a nearby 1700 km/s star ejected from the Milky Way by Sgr A*‘, the star has already spent around 4.8 million years on a lonely journey in the space after it was kicked away from the Sagittarius A* black hole. “When integrated backwards in time, the orbit of the star points unambiguously to the Galactic Centre, implying that S5-HVS1 was kicked away from Sgr A* with a velocity of ∼ 1800 km/s,” the researchers wrote in the paper.
The discovery was made during a project called the Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopic Survey. The scientists said their data proved the runaway star ‘can be unambiguously traced back to the Galactic Centre’. In a previous report, NASA says that the Sagittarius A* black hole is just 26,000 light-years away from Earth, and it is one of the very few black holes in the universe where we can witness the flow of matter nearby.
“With the S5-HVS1 ejection velocity being almost twice the velocity of other hyper-velocity stars previously associated with the Galactic Centre, we question whether they have been generated by the same mechanism or whether the ejection velocity distribution has been constant over time” the research paper read.
Black holes are uninhabitable chasms of spacetime that end in a ‘singularity,’ or a mass of infinite density, according to Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The gravitational forces in them are so strong that nothing, neither matter nor light, can escape once it gets too close.