~ I found the following from Universe Today interesting, and it suggests several questions~ Astronomers have identified nearly 700 rogue stars that appear to have been ejected from the Milky Way galaxy. When these stars received the powerful kick that knocked them out of the galaxy, they were small, yellow stars like the sun. But in the multi-million-year journey they evolved into red giant stars. Credit: Michael Smelzer, Vanderbilt University
Some stars can get kicked out from their home galaxy. These stars – called various names like rogue, runaway or hypervelocity stars, a few of them have actually been discovered. But now a group of nearly 700 rogue stars have been found on the outskirts of the Milky Way. The astronomers who found them argue they are hypervelocity stars that have been ejected from the center of the galaxy.
“These stars really stand out. They are red giant stars with high metallicity which gives them an unusual color,” said Kelly Holley-Bockelmann from Vanderbilt University, who conducted the study with graduate student Lauren Palladino.
They found these stars analyzing the millions of stars cataloged in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
Runaway stars are kicked into motion either through a supernova explosion of a companion star, through gravitational interactions with other stars in a cluster, or through encounters with a black hole. One scenario could involve a binary pair of stars that get caught in the black hole’s grip, and as one of the stars spirals in towards the black hole, its companion is flung outward at a tremendous velocity.
Red giant stars are the end stage in the evolution of small, yellow stars like the Sun. So, the stars in this new red giant rogues category should have been small stars like the Sun when they got ejected. As they traveled outward, they continued to age until they reached the red giant stage. Even traveling at hypervelocities, it would take a star about 10 million years to travel from the central hub to the spiral’s edge, 50,000 light years away.
There are a few methods for discovering runaway rogue stars. The first is to examine stars individually and analyze their motion in the plane of the sky (proper motion) along with their motion towards or away from us (radial velocity) to determine if a given star has sufficient velocity to escape. The second is to look at the effects some stars have on the local environment. Since young clusters contain large amounts of gas and dust, stars plowing through it will create bow shocks, similar to those a boat makes in the ocean.
~Planets should reach hypervelosity by similar mechanisms, and rarely pass though our solar system, enroute to the outer edge of our galaxy.
Also of interest, is ten million years to travel 50,000 light years, which infers
0.5% of c with respect to the outeer edge of our galaxy plus any horizontal speed vector. Have we ever observied anything planet size or bigger, near by, traveling even 0.1% of c = 300 kilomeers per second with respect to Earth? Neil~