Discover the fastest star ever observed, S4716, on this episode of Above and Beyond. Journey to the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, flinging stars like toys, and witness the incredible speeds of S4716 orbiting around it at 5,000 miles per second!
In July 2022, the fastest star ever observed by astronomers was discovered. It’s name is S4716.
As always, we hope for a better name.
It makes sense that it’s ripping through space at such a clip. It’s located in an area where you would fully expect such blistering speeds.
Around the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy—that’s where.
See, this black hole has the mass of over four million Suns. Four MILLION! That’s some heft!
It’s so much heft that the black hole flings stars around like a toddler mad with her toys. Only instead of flying off into empty space, they orbit around her like a swarm of gnats on a summer day. The orbiting stars in that swarm are known as the “S stars.”
The shortest orbit of those is S4716 as it clocks in at about 5,000 miles per second at its closest approach—the fastest star ever observed.
Now that sounds like a fast and furious movie I’d go see.