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11/29/2007

Chandra Discovers a Cosmic Cannonball


November 28, 2007: Astronomers using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory have discovered one of the fastest stars ever seen. It's a "cosmic cannonball" that is challenging theories to explain its blistering speed.
The name of the star is RX J0822-4300. It's a neutron star created by the Puppis A supernova explosion about 3700 years ago. Three Chandra observations clearly show the neutron star moving away from the center of the blast. Speed: 3 million mph! At this rate, RX J0822-4300 is destined to escape the Milky Way just millions of years from now.

Above: Chandra X-ray Observatory images of "cannonball star" RX J0822-4300. [More]

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