White Dwarf That Survived Supernova, Detected by Hubble Space Telescope

NASA informed that a new study has found that a white dwarf has been noticed being ripped apart from a massive supernova. SN 20127 is the supernova in question here and it was detected 110 million light-years away in Galaxy NGC 1309.

The research was published in the August 7 issue of the journal Nature. The NGC 1309 has been under observation of the Hubble Space Telescope for several years before the supernova event of January 2012. A comparison made between before and after images revealed that pre-supernova Hubble images were sharp and an unexpected object near the supernova was discovered by researchers.

Detailed study of this object revealed that its colors indicated that it is a star which was thrown off the outer shell of hydrogen, thus leaving only the helium core.

Researchers suggested that the biggest star went through the life cycle faster which made the hydrogen leave onto the smallest star, that further changed into a white dwarf. Eventually the smaller star became heavier and it swallowed the white dwarf. Then blowing off of the combination of stars occurred where only the white dwarf as well as the helium core of the companion remained.

The research team was led by Curtis McCully of Rutgers University who initially discovered the unexpected object near the supernova.

“I was very surprised to see anything at the location of the supernova. We expected the progenitor system would be too faint to see, like in previous searchers for normal Type 1a supernova progenitors. It is exciting when nature surprises us”, said McCully. Further, the researchers intend to use Hubble in 2015 to study the region again.

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