Friday, March 29, 2013

Star Orbits Black Hole At the Astounding Speed of 1.2 Million mph

I sure am a sucker for these articles about high speed stars and black holes.  To that effect, here is a link to an article in Bad Astronomy.   A star system has been found in which a star is orbiting its' companion at 1.2 million mph!  The star orbits its' companion every 2.4 hours.  Let put this in perspective,  the star has an orbital radius of about 600000 miles, that's about twice the distance from the Earth to the Moon.  
doozy!  Courtney sent me this

Now if everything else remains even, if the moon were at the distance from the Earth that the star is from its black hole, it would take the Moon 56 days to do the same orbit that this insane star system does in just under 2 1/2 hours!   It clearly gives you an indication of how insane the forces are even well outside the event horizon.    Thankfully it is not the norm but is instead a record setter system.  

The black-hole/star system is very difficult to observe.  Right now astronomers put it about 1000 LY away but could easily be 20X further away.  

The system named MAXI J1659−152 was discovered in 2010 simultaneously by NASA’s Swift and the Japanese MAXI satellites.  

The rest of the article is equally informative.  You can find the rest here.

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