According to simulations… if a binary star system, with one or both of the stars bearing planets, swings too close to the giant black hole in the center of the galaxy, the end result could be planets zipping outbound at 30 million miles per hour.

Runaway Planets Zoom at a Fraction of Light Speed

Here’s the thing, though… the acceleration and tidal stresses would probably be pretty spectacular. I’d bet that in many, if not not, cases, the “planet” would be converted into a cloud of rubble that would then, over time, reform into a world.

The radiation environment at the center of the galaxy would be pretty harsh, too. No real way that anything resembling an ecosystem could survive the close passage by the black hole. And apart from geothermal heating… if the planet is torn from its star, it would quickly become an extremely cold and dark planet, doomed to exit the galaxy in fairly short order. Taking the long way out, though the galactic plane of the ecliptic, such a planet might exit the galaxy in a million years or so. Going straight “up,” it’d get out in a timespan measured in a few dozen millenia.  And once out, it would almost certainly never encounter stars again.

  • MrDakka

    Relativistic weaponry???

    • Anonymous

      If you have the ability to fling planets around like bullets, I shudder to imagine what sort of target you’d need *relativistic* planets to take out.

    • Sferrin

      Relativistic weapons are mentioned briefly in Vinge’s “A Fire Upon The Deep”. The effect is that of “splashing” planets with their impact.

  • Tonyt787

    If Larry Niven sees this we can expect a new Known Space trilogy at the very least.

    • http://profiles.google.com/jabrwok Jason Bontrager

      One might assume that the antimatter planet (Cannonball Express?) was flung out of it’s home galaxy via this mechanism.

  • Sferrin

    Imagine if one of these things hit a gas giant. Quite a show I’d think.

  • Ed

    Other than *that*, sounds like fun!

  • Anonymous

    Well, so much for Moonbase Alpha and the rest of Space:1999

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nox6XjsS7Bs

  • USSHelm

    You say no ecosystem could survive the harsh radiation at the center of the galaxy. That makes the assumption that that form of life is similar to what we know, rather than an unknown form of life.

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