Space

Gaia Satellite Spots Six Stars Speeding Rapidly In The Milky Way

Elaine Hannah
First Posted: Jul 05, 2017 04:43 AM EDT
ESA Science & Technology/YouTube screenshot

The European Space Agency's Gaia satellite spotted six stars speeding through the Milky Way. These hypervelocity stars exceed the galaxy's local escape velocity.

The velocities of the stars are greater than 220 miles per second. One of them has an exceptional pace that could reach about 300 miles per second. The scientists thought that it might shoot right out of the galaxy. This is so impressive that it surpasses the Sun that travels for about 135 miles per second through the Milky Way.

The Gaia satellite has been collecting data on the evolution of a galaxy. It captures the movements of more than a billion traveling stars. With this, the scientists examine this data by building an artificial brain.

Tommaso Marchetti, the lead author of the study that was published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, said that in the end, they chose to use an artificial neural work that is a software designed to mimic how the brain works. He further said that it can learn how to identify certain objects or patterns in a huge data set. He added that they taught it to spot hypervelocity stars in a stellar catalog like the one compiled with Gaia, according to Inverse.

The six hypervelocity stars have low masses just like the mass of the Sun. They are named TYC 2298-66-1, TYC 8422-875-1, TYC 2456-2178-1, TYC 2348-333-1, TYC 49-1326-1 and TYC 5890-971-1.

One of the stars is speeding fast and the other five stars seem to be slower that the highly speeding star. The scientists thought these slower stars could be more fascinating and they want to know what slowed them down. It is theorized that the invisible dark matter in the Milky Way could have a significant role in this matter. Dr. Anthony Brown from Leiden University said the result showcases the great potential of Gaia opening new insights to examine the structure and dynamics of the galaxy, as Sci-News noted.

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