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Star on the run

posted by Aaron Cohen   May 18, 2010

Today’s wild space story is brought to us by Bad Astronomy:

We have a stellar cluster with thousands of times the Sun’s mass embedded in a nebula furiously cranking out newborn stars. A lot of them are near the physical upper limit of how big a star can get. The whole thing is only a couple of million years old, a fraction of the galaxy’s lifespan. One beefy star with 90 times the Sun’s mass got too close to some other stars, which summarily flung it out of the cluster at high speed, fast enough to cross the distance from the Earth to the Moon in an hour (it took Apollo three days). The star is barreling through the flotsam in that galaxy, its violent stellar wind carving out a bubble of gas that points right back to the scene of the crime, nearly 4 quadrillion kilometers and a million years behind it.

Click through to see the pictures and read a more thorough write up.
PS: 70% of the reason I linked to this is because of the title, “Rampaging cannonball star is rampaging.”