The Traveler Star traveled 50,000 light years. One of the stars orbiting near the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy comes from outside the galaxy, according to a new study published in the Japan Academy Proceedings Series B. Japan’s National Astronomical Observatory of Japan has reported the first discovery of a star of extragalactic origin near a supermassive black hole. Many stars orbit the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* at the center of our galaxy. However, because of its strong gravity, the environment is too harsh for stars to form. They all must have been born somewhere else and migrated.
Research by an international team led by Shogo Nishiyama of Miyagi University suggests that some stars may come from somewhere outside the Milky Way. The research team spent eight years using the Subaru Telescope to observe the star S0-6, located just 0.04 light-years from Sagittarius A*. They determined that S0-6 is about 10 billion years old. Its chemical structure is similar to that of stars in small galaxies outside the Milky Way, such as the Small Magellanic Cloud and the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy.
They determined that S0-6 is about 10 billion years old. Its chemical structure is similar to that of stars in small galaxies outside the Milky Way, such as the Small Magellanic Cloud and the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy. The most likely theory to explain S0-6’s composition is that it formed in a small extinct galaxy orbiting the absorbed Milky Way. Over its 10 billion year lifetime, S0-6 would have traveled more than 50,000 light years before arriving near Sagittarius A*. S0-6 almost certainly flew much farther, not moving in a straight line, but slowly spiraling toward the center.