Astronomers found the fastest star orbiting the universe.
By: Charlotte Dong
After 20 years of diligent research from the University of Cologne and Masaryk, astronomers have found the fastest star in the universe, the S4714. This star orbits around the Sagittarius A* black hole in the center of the milky way. The S4714 is located 100 AU (astronomical units) away from the black hole.
The S4714 only needs four years to orbit the entire black hole. That is so much faster compared to the average star orbital time. This star travels faster than the speed of light, “more than 8% of the speed of light” or “8000 kilometers per second.”
Before the discovery of S4714, the star S2 was formerly known as the fastest star orbiting the Sagittarius A* taking 16 years to do so. A team from the University of Cologne also discovered more S stars that also orbited the Sagittarius A*: S4711, S4712, S4713, and S4715 (and S4714)
Because of how big the Sagittarius A* is (around 4 million suns), it attracts hundreds of stars called the S cluster, one of the stars being S4714. It causes them to orbit around it (Sgr A*) and travel at insane speeds.
Dr. Florian Peissker stated that it’s a shocker that a star can be so close to a black hole and orbit so rapidly, luckily, it can still be seen with a traditional telescope
To see the S4714, 5 telescopes are required: four out of five of these telescopes are merged into one telescope used to meticulously observe it.
There are still many mysteries regarding the S4714, especially about the “close-range orbit” of the star and how it was formed in the first place. Michael Zajaček, an astrophysicist at Masaryk University said in a press statement that “Stars cannot form so easily near the black hole. S4714 had to move inwards, for example by approaching other stars and objects in the S cluster, which caused its orbit to shrink significantly.”
Researchers are still working toward discovering the answers to these mind-boggling questions.