Hubble Telescope Catches Superfast Runaway Star
The stellar speed demon spied racing through the Tarantula Nebula may be a never before seen type of fugitive star, a new study says.
Dubbed 30 Dor 016, the massive star is whipping through space at a record-breaking 250,000 miles (400,000 kilometers) an hour. The fugitive already appears to have traveled 375 light-years from its birthplace: a star cluster called R136 deep in the Tarantula Nebula.
(Related: "Mystery Space Object May Be Ejected Black Hole.")
Astronomers caught the stellar runaway in Hubble Space Telescope data taken shortly after the last space shuttle servicing mission in May 2009. (See pictures taken by the upgraded Hubble.)
The team chose the star as a target to help calibrate the newly installed Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS), an instrument