(ORDO NEWS) — Not all stars enjoy just hanging around the galactic center with all the other stars. Some stars are out of control, thrown through the Milky Way with considerable force.
These are runaway stars, and we can trace their trajectories to understand the violent events that can happen in the universe.
One of these stars and one of the most famous is Zeta Ophiuchus. Located about 440 light years from Earth in the equatorial constellation Ophiuchus, it is also one of the strangest stars in the sky.
Not only is it extraordinarily fast, at speeds of 30 to 40 kilometers (roughly 20 to 25 miles) per second, but it’s a strange kind of star to see whistling through space.
Zeta Ophiuchus is a main sequence star; that is, one that is still fusing hydrogen into helium at its core. And it’s a hot, massive O-type star: about 20 times the mass of the Sun, glowing blue from its intense heat.
Such stars also have relatively short lives; Zeta Ophiucus is about halfway to its estimated main sequence lifespan of 8 million years.
This means that they are not very common in the Milky Way; but such stars also tend to be born and spend their lives in groups known as associations.
However, Zeta Ophiuchi is all alone as he travels through space, which raises questions about where he came from and how he got into his current predicament.
Scientists now believe that Zeta Ophiuchi was ejected into space by the explosion of a supernova binary companion star.
The path of the pulsar, also flying in space, must have crossed the path of Zeta Ophiuchi about a million years ago.
This suggests that the pulsar was a star that went supernova, sending both stars flying.
Because Zeta Ophiuchus is so well known, we know quite a bit about him. . For example, the images show a colossal shock wave in a thick cloud through which the star is moving. This is created by blowing matter out of the star and colliding with gas.
And X-rays around the star were detected in observations from Chandra in 2016 – thermal radiation created by impact heating.
A new study led by computational astrophysicist Samuel Green of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Study in Ireland examined multi-wavelength data to see if shock wave dynamics could explain the observed cloud as well as thermal radiation. . This includes observations in the optical, infrared, radio and X-ray ranges.
They ran simulations and found that their results didn’t match observations. The brightest X-rays in the Chandra data come from a bubble surrounding the star. In the simulations, the brightest X-rays were in the bow shock itself.
This suggests that something is missing either in the simulations or in our understanding of the strange star and its surroundings.
Future simulations will add more physics to the mix or run at higher resolution to better model the turbulence involved.
In terms of other amazingly fast stars, the fastest main sequence runaway star discovered so far. S5-HVS1 is flying through the galaxy at about 1,700 km (approximately 1,056 miles) per second as a result of interaction with Sagittarius A*, a supermassive black hole in our galaxy.
The fastest dead stars are a pair. white dwarfs moving at a speed of 2200 kilometers (about 1370 miles) per second, thrown up by a double supernova.
The fastest star identified to date in our galaxy is S4714, which reaches speeds of 24,000 kilometers (14,900 miles) per second as it orbits Sgr A*
The group’s paper was agreed on the specialty Astronomy and Astrophysics . A large version of composite optical, X-ray and infrared observations of Zeta Ophiuchus can be found on the Chandra website.
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