The Milky Way's Speediest Stars Could Solve a 50-Year-Old Mystery
Ken Shen was racing against the sun. It was 3 A.M. on April 25 and Shen—an astronomer at the University of California, Berkeley—was sitting at his kitchen table in his pajamas. At that precise moment the scientists behind the European Space Agency’s Gaia spacecraft released the mission’s second batch of data. And Shen was on a mission to comb that data to find the Milky Way’s fastest-moving stars, then to verify their identities via independent observations on ground-based telescopes.