Runaway star cluster speeding towards Earth

Runaway star cluster speeding towards Earth

Runaway star cluster speeding towards Earth

Written by Staff Writer

02 May, 2014 | 8:32 am

A galaxy has thrown out a star cluster towards Earth at more than two million miles per hour. But it is, thankfully, likely to miss our planet and “drift through the void between the galaxies for all time,” says the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Astronomers aren’t sure why the star cluster — named HVGC-1 — got thrown out at such high speed. One possibility is that the galaxy had two supermassive black holes at its core, experts said, which the stars came too close to. The black holes then threw out the star cluster like a slingshot.

Those black holes were formed by a long-ago collisions of two galaxies. That merged into one single galaxy — a fate that awaits Milky Way when it collides with Andromeda.

The cluster was found by astronomers studying the galaxy, who initially thought that its speed was the result of a glitch.

-TOI

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