'Fastest-Ever' Star Orbits Black Hole At 2 Million MPH (VIDEO)

Posted: Updated:
Print Article
File
File

Astronomers have found an astonishing star and black hole in deep space which orbit each other every 2 hours.

Known as a black hole X-ray binary system, the pair share a common centre of gravity and rotate around it with remarkable speed.

The star in the system flies around the black hole at more than two million kilometres per hour - 20 times faster than the Earth moves around the Sun.

The total orbit lasts just 2.4 hours, which smashes the previous record by more than an hour, according to Universe Today.

The black hole is called MAXI J1659-152, and is at least three times as massive as our sun. Its companion star, located about a million kilometers away, has less than a fifth the mass of our own.

The binary system was discovered by NASA's Swift space telescope in 2010, but new observations have allowed more detailed analysis of its nature.

"These high galactic latitude locations and short orbital periods are signatures of a potential new class of binary system, objects that may have been kicked out of the Galactic plane during the explosive formation of the black hole itself," lead author Erik Kuulkers of ESA's European Space Astronomy Centre in Spain said in a statement.