The former companion of hyper-velocity star S5-HVS1

Wenbin Lu, Jim Fuller, Yael Raveh, Hagai B. Perets, Ting S. Li, Matthew W. Hosek, Tuan Do

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The hyper-velocity star S5-HVS1, ejected 5 Myr ago from the Galactic Centre at 1800 km s-1, was most likely produced by tidal break-up of a tight binary by the supermassive black hole SgrA∗. Taking a Monte Carlo approach, we show that the former companion of S5-HVS1 was likely a main-sequence star between 1.2 and 6 M· and was captured into a highly eccentric orbit with pericentre distance in the range of 1-10 au and semimajor axis about 103 au. We then explore the fate of the captured star. We find that the heat deposited by tidally excited stellar oscillation modes leads to runaway disruption if the pericentre distance is smaller than about 3\rm, au. Over the past 5 Myr, its angular momentum has been significantly modified by orbital relaxation, which may stochastically drive the pericentre inwards below 3\rm, au and cause tidal disruption. We find an overall survival probability in the range 5 per cent to 50 per cent, depending on the local relaxation time in the close environment of the captured star, and the initial pericentre at capture. The pericentre distance of the surviving star has migrated to 10-100 au, making it potentially the most extreme member of the S-star cluster. From the ejection rate of S5-HVS1-like stars, we estimate that there may currently be a few stars in such highly eccentric orbits. They should be detectable (typically K rm s≲ 18.5, mag) by the GRAVITY instrument and by future Extremely Large Telescopes and hence provide an extraordinary probe of the spin of SgrA∗.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-613
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 May 2021


  • Galaxy: centre
  • black hole physics
  • stars: kinematics and dynamics
  • stars: oscillations

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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