Massive star bolts across space at 250,000MPH

NASA’s Hubble, Europe’s VLT telescopes spot star 90 times more massive than the Sun

Runaway Star, Hubble site
NASA's Hubble telescope has spotted a huge star -- 90 times more massive than the Sun -- blasting across space at over than 250,000 miles an hour, a speed that scientists say would let a spacecraft zip to the Moon and back in two hours. 

The runaway star is the most extreme case of a very massive star that has been kicked out of its home by a group of even heftier siblings, according to the Space Telescope Science Institute. Runaway stars can be made by running into one or two heavier siblings in a massive, dense cluster and get booted out through what scientists called a stellar game of pinball. Or, a star may get a 'kick' from a supernova explosion in a binary system, with the more massive star exploding first, scientists stated. 

NASA telescopes watch cosmic violence, mysteries unravel 

The Hubble Space Telescope's Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS), the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) and some keen research suggest that the star may have traveled about 375 light-years from its suspected home, a giant star cluster called R136, scientists said. The cluster contains several stars topping 100 solar masses each (one solar mass is equal to  1.98892 x 1030 kilograms, or the mass of the Sun). 

Institute scientists say the massive star is about 10 times hotter than the Sun, a temperature that is consistent with a high-mass object. 

On top of the massive star observation, the Institute says the renegade star may not be the only runaway in the region. Two other extremely hot, massive stars have been spotted beyond the edges of 30 Doradus. Astronomers suspect that these stars also may have been ejected from their home. They plan to analyze the stars in detail to determine whether 30 Doradus might be unleashing a barrage of massive stellar runaways into the surrounding neighborhood. 

The wayward star will eventually end its life in a titanic supernova explosion, likely leaving behind a remnant black hole continue to streak across space, said team member Paul Crowther of the University of Sheffield in England in a release. 

The runaway star research team published information about the star in the May 5 online edition of The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 

Follow Michael Cooney on Twitter: nwwlayer8   

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