Three-body encounters in the Galactic centre: the origin of the hypervelocity star SDSS J090745.0+024507

Alessia Gualandris 1, Simon Portegies Zwart1 and Michael S. Sipior1, 1 Astronomical Institute 'Anton Pannekoek', and Section Computational Science, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands,

Paper: MNRAS, in press

EPrint Server: astro-ph/0507365


Hills (1988) predicted that runaway stars could be accelerated to velocities larger than 1000 km/sec by dynamical encounters with the supermassive black hole (SMBH) in the Galactic center. The recently discovered hypervelocity star SDSS J090745.0+024507 (hereafter HVS) is escaping the Galaxy at high speed and could be the first object in this class. With the measured radial velocity and the estimated distance to the HVS, we trace back its trajectory in the Galactic potential. Assuming it was ejected from the center, we find that a 2\masyr proper motion is necessary for the star to have come within a few parsecs of the SMBH. We perform three-body scattering experiments to constrain the progenitor encounter which accelerated the HVS. As proposed by Yu & Tremaine (2003), we consider the tidal disruption of binary systems by the SMBH and the encounter between a star and a binary black hole, as well as an alternative scenario involving intermediate mass black holes. We find that the tidal disruption of a stellar binary ejects stars with a larger velocity compared to the encounter between a single star and a binary black hole, but has a somewhat smaller ejection rate due to the greater availability of single stars.

Preprints available from the authors at , or the raw TeX (no figures) if you click here.

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