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How to survive a supernova


How to survive a supernova

The blast of a supernova usually annihilates a dying star, but this one left behind a survivor. Hubble Space Telescope images show that the explosion of supernova SN 2012Z was weak enough to leave a feeble “zombie star”—a helium core missing its hydrogen envelope (shown glowing blue in the right inset). Earlier Hubble photos (left inset) show that a blue companion star fed energy to its dying partner, prompting the supernova blast, NASA reports. The discovery, to appear in Nature on 7 August, lends support to an earlier claim that this “game of seesaw” in a binary star system can cause a white dwarf explosion.

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