This Star Traveling Across The Milky Way May Have Survived a Supernova

What do you get when a star crosses the Milky Way at about 560,000 miles per hour? Apparently, a supernova survivor.

Video Transcript


- Scientists have found an unusual white dwarf hurtling across our galaxy that may have survived a supernova. A new study published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society suggests the exploding star blasted itself out of its orbit with another star in a partial supernova and lived to tell the tale. University of Warwick researchers studied the white dwarf with a weird atmospheric composition that's traveling at about 560,000 miles per hour. They think it wasn't a binary system that survived its thermonuclear supernova explosion. The star likely ejected a lot of its mass, which flung both stars in opposite directions in a kind of slingshot maneuver.

With the Hubble Space Telescope, they found some elements created during the initial thermonuclear reactions of a supernova. But it's missing other elements found in these explosions. So scientists think it only went through a partial supernova. And it was a type that they haven't seen before. This could mean that there are other supernova survivors out there and other types of supernova that scientists have yet to uncover.