by Nola Taylor Redd, SPACE.com contributor   |   January 27, 2014 03:08pm ET
New Class of Stars Graphic
Top and side views show four of the new class of stars traveling fast enough to leave the gravitational grasp of the Milky Way.
Credit: Graphic design by Julie Turner, Vanderbilt University. Top view courtesy of NASA. Side view courtesy of the European Southern Observatory.

A new class of fast-moving stars are on their way out of the Milky Way, scientists say.

Unlike most other known hypervelocity stars, the 20 sunsize stars are not exiting after interacting with the black hole in the heart of the galaxy, a massive body whose gravitational influence usually provides the kick needed to escape, the new study found.

“These new hypervelocity stars are very different from the ones that have been discovered previously,” the study’s lead author Lauren Palladino, of Vanderbilt University, said in a statement. [Top 10 Star Mysteries of All Time]

“The original hypervelocity stars are large, blue stars, and appear to have originated from the galactic center,” Palladino added. “Our new stars are relatively small — about the size of the sun — and the surprising part is that none of them appear to have come from the galactic core.”

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