The Chinese astronomers discovered 591 high-speed stars that are part of the Milky Way’s halo, based on data from the LAMOST telescope.
Study co-author Professor Lu You-Jun explained that “although rare in the Milky Way,” these stars “can provide insight into a wide range of galactic science, from the central supermassive black hole to the distant galactic halo.”
Astronomers at the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences discovered these high-speed stars that move rapidly in highly elliptical orbits around the center of the galaxy and can even escape from it.
This study, published in December in The Astrophysical Journal, was based on data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite and the Large Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope in the Sky (LAMOST), which is the largest optical telescope. from China.
According to study co-author Professor Lu You-Jun, these stars can provide insight into a wide range of galactic science, from the central supermassive black hole to the distant galactic halo, and are rare in the Milky Way.
“The 591 high-speed stars discovered this time doubled the total number previously discovered, bringing the current total number to over a thousand,” said lead study author Li Yin-Bi, quoted by the Phys.org portal.
At least 43 of the 591 have more than a 50 percent chance of leaving the galaxy. As for their origins, the researchers say that about 15 percent of the discovered stars originated in the center of the Milky Way, 55 percent did so in the disk, and 30 percent have extragalactic origins.