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Check Out S4716, the Fastest Star in the Universe

By: Braydon Chen

Astronomers have recently discovered the S4716, which is the fastest star ever.

According to researchers, it orbits around Sagittarius, a black hole which is located at the center of the galaxy in the Milky Way. The black hole Sagittarius measures 23.5 million kilometers across, or roughly 77,099,737,500 feet. The star can move one rotation around the black hole in a matter of 4 years; quicker than any other star.

After astronomers spent 20 years researching and collecting data, they calculated that the star could move up to lightning-fast speeds of around 18 million miles per hour, 29 million kilometers per hour, or 5,000 miles in one second.

The S4716 was discovered by researchers at the University of Cologne and Masaryk University. To observe this star, a grand total of 5 telescopes were needed to look at the S4716. Four of the five telescopes were combined to form one large telescope to help researchers look at the star more accurately. The names of the telescopes used were NIR2 and OSIRIS positioned in Hawaii, and SINFONI, NACO, and GRAVITY from the European Southern Observatory.

“For a star to be in stable orbit so close and fast in the vicinity of a supermassive black hole was completely unexpected and marks the limit that can be observed with traditional telescopes.” Dr. Florian Peissker, who is the lead author of this new study, stated.

They discovered that the S4716 is as close to the black hole as 100 astronomical units, which is equal to 149,597,870 kilometers, which by astronomical standards, this is considered a rather short distance.

The S4716 is part of a crowded group of stars known as the S-star cluster, or Sagittarius A* cluster. The Sagittarius A* cluster is made up of a group of 100 stars traveling at high speeds.

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