Monday, March 26, 2012

Rogue Worlds Known as Hypervelocity Planets Cruise Cosmos at Nearly 50 Million Kilometers an Hour.

  Planets thrown free of thier parent star are among the fastest objects in outer space. They are numerous as well. It is thought that there are many more planets in the galaxy than there are stars falling short in numbers only to asteroids, comets, and primal dust&gasses. 
The search for the existence of hypervelocity planets began after the discovery of hypervelocity stars seven years ago.
Scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics say their findings indicate that hypervelocity planets do exist, and they are produced the same way as hypervelocity stars - a too-close encounter with the gravity of a galaxy’s central supermassive black hole.

artist's conception of hypervelosity planet zooming free through cosmos
While hypervelocity stars have been clocked moving at nearly 2.5 million kilometers per hour, even the slowest hypervelocity planet flies several times faster.  The study's co-authors say most hypervelocity planets streak through interstellar space at 11 to 16 million kilometers per hour, but ideal conditions can produce much higher speeds - up to 48 million kilometers per hour, or a small percentage of the speed of light.

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