Home >>

Fastest Objects in the Universe- Runaway Planets

By Ric Watson

A new study said that runaway planets that race across space at tremendously high velocity of 30 million miles per hour, are the fastest-traveling objects in universe.

After the discovery of the first runaway star seven years ago, as it shot out of the Milky Way at the astounding speed of 1.5 million mph, astronomers started pursuing the matter. According to the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the researchers questioned that when a star can get tossed outward at such high speed, could the same happen to planets.

Ina Harvard-Smitsonian statement, study leader Idan Ginsburg of Dartmouth College, said, "Other than subatomic particles, I don't know of anything leaving our galaxy as fast as these runaway planets."

Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics' Avi Loeb said, "These warp-speed planets would be some of the fastest objects in our Galaxy. If you lived on one of them, you'd be in for a wild ride from the center of galaxy to the Universe at large."

While a typical hypervelocity planet would be tossed outward at the speed of seven to 10 million mph, but even a small fraction could garner much higher speeds under ideal conditions, as much as 30 million mph. Such super-speed planets form the same way as hypervelocity stars. A double-star system usually moves in too close to the supermassive black hole at the galactic center.

In the wake of strong gravitational forces, stars get pulled away from one another, as one gets sent away at high speed and the other gets captured into orbit around the black hole. Researchers of this study performed simulations of as to what would happen if each star had a planet or two orbiting close-by.

The scientists then discovered that the star that ejected outward could carry its planets along with. The second star- which is trapped in the black hole- could have its planets torn away and tossed out into interstellar space at super-fast speeds.