We might all want to invest in a crash helmet, as it seems the vast black hole at the centre of our galaxy is regurgitating the stars it was meant to be swallowing.
The supermassive black hole parked in the middle of the Milky Way, known as Sagittarius A, is renowned for its ability to make spaghetti out of stars that wander too close by.
Eden Girma, who announced the findings at the American Astronomical Society’s annual meeting in Texas this week, explained that a computer simulation had been observing the turbulent region of space around the black hole.
And it discovered that every 10,000 years or so when one of these stars gets sucked in to the black hole, the resulting star stuff doesn’t stay destroyed forever. In fact, it reconnects afterwards.
Forming clusters of gas and dust that are each bigger than Neptune, and some even bigger than Jupiter.
Once reformed, they are then propelled at speeds exceeding 20 million miles per hour back through the galaxy, meaning that lots of the space matter we see could be these free-floating objects.
“Our galaxy could be populated by hundreds of millions of these cold fragments that are direct remnants of stars,” said Girma.
Indeed one may be sprinting through space several hundred light-years away from earth.
Best invest in that helmet then.