Star found moving through the milky way at a speed of 2.5 million mph

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zoomy pulsar star
The star appears to leave a cloud in its wake like a rocket ship. (Photo: NRAO/AUI/NSF/DRAO/Canadian Galactic Plane Survey/NASA/IRAS)

Researchers announced a mind-blowing discovery on March 19 at the High Energy Astrophysics Division meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Monterey, California. They have spotted a super fast moving pulsar from low Earth orbit with NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and using the Karl G. Jansky Array in New Mexico.

Named as PSR J0002+6216 (preferably “zoomy”) this speedy star is a type of neutron star called a pulsar. A neutron star is the disintegrated core of a star below a certain mass and load after it has gone supernova.

In turn, pulsars are highly magnetized neutron stars with an extraordinarily fast spin rate, which emit jets of electromagnetic radiation as they spin. If these jets manage to line up correctly in order, so that the radiation flashes at Earth, we will be able to see it – like a giant cosmic lighthouse.

This pulsar is about 6,500 light-years (1,992 parsecs) away in the constellation of Cassiopeia, is about 53 light-years from the center of a bubble-shaped supernova remnant called CTB 1.

STAR SPEED:
It’s traveling at 1,130 kilometers per second (700 miles per second). That could take it from Earth to the Moon in 6 minutes. It’s one of the fastest stars we’ve ever seen.

It is spectacularly zooming away from the expanding cloud of a recent supernova explosion, leaving a trail behind after it.  It had managed to punch through the explosion’s outer shell of debris. It’s moving at an agile and brisk speed being so fast that it will eventually be able to escape the Milky Way and continue speeding its way through intergalactic space.

Certain instabilities in the collapsing star could create a region of slow-moving matter that gravitationally pulls the neutron star towards it, creating the acceleration. So far the star seems to be consistent with this although additional observation is required.

It is indeed an amazing discovery because it could help astronomers understand the dynamics and the physics behind the theory that is able to launch these stars into space at such tremendous speeds.

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