The Fastest Moving Celestial Bodies Are?
Answer: Neutron Stars
Compared to our human sense of scale and speed, practically all celestial objects are moving rather quickly (whether in orbit or simply rocketing through space). Earth travels in its orbit around the Sun at a brisk clip of 18.5 miles (29.78 kilometers) per second. The Sun, in turn, is in orbit around the center of the galaxy and moving at an even speedier 136.7 miles (220 kilometers) per second in its orbit.
But even when you factor in seemingly speedy objects like comets and asteroids hurtling through space, they can’t even hold a candle to an unlikely candidate for the fastest celestial body: neutron stars. The fastest observed celestial bodies ever recorded are neutron stars that have been ejected away from their originating locations as a result of super nova explosions. While the force and sheer energy of such explosions effectively tears apart most things in their path, the extreme density of neutron stars protects them and turns them into a sort of intergalactic bullet. The fastest moving neutron star has been clocked at a staggering 932 miles (1,500 kilometers) per second—that’s 3,355,404 miles (5,400,000 kilometers) per hour.
To put that in perspective, if we sent one of these neutron stars (starting from the Sun) to chase down Voyager 1, a spacecraft that is currently around 12,731,148,320 miles (20,500,000,000 kilometers) away after decades of travel, and the farthest any man made object has ever been from Earth, it would overtake the spacecraft in around 158 days.
Image courtesy of NASA.