Hypervelocity Stars


In 2005 Smithsonian astronomers discovered the first "hypervelocity star:" a massive star whose 2 million mph velocity can be explained only by ejection from the Galaxy's massive black hole. This "outcast" star has been thrown out of the Milky Way and is destined to drift in the emptiness of intergalactic space. Smithsonian astronomers are leading the discovery of new hypervelocity stars. Hypervelocity stars tell us about the types of stars orbiting near the central black hole, and the history of stellar interactions with the central black hole.


Warren Brown, Margaret Geller, Scott Kenyon, Michael Kurtz