Shooting Stars

Listen 04:31

Buried in the data from European Space Agency’s Gaia Survey satellite, astronomers from Leiden University in the Netherlands discovered 13 new stars whose hyper-velocities suggest they’ve interlopers from EXTRA-galactic sources (outside our Milky Way).
Seven others are traveling at several hundreds of millions of miles per hour. They’ll escape our galaxy and head off into intergalactic space. Astronomers have little understanding of how such velocities are generated. By the way; for comparison, the Earth orbits the sun at a relatively snail-like half-million miles per hour!

NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft, launched on August 20, 1977, is (perhaps) about to leave near-sun space, as evidenced by an uptick in cosmic ray detection. About 40,000 years from now, Voyager 1 (which launched 16 days after Voyager 2) will be closer to a star other than the Sun when it passes within 1.6 light-years of GJ 445, a red dwarf star currently in the constellation Camelopardalis.
Around the same time, Voyager 2 will pass about 1.7 light-years from Ross 248 in the constellation Andromeda.
Ross 248 (aka Gliese 905) is small compared to our sun; it has about 12% of the Sun’s mass and 16% of the Sun’s radius.

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