‘Zombie’ stars are coming back to life and scientists are on the hunt for more
- Scientists have found three new ‘Zombie’ stars didn’t die or turn into a
blackholedespite breaking the Chandrashekhar limitand exploding into a supernova.
- Their chemical composition is very different from ordinary stars and despite their name, they move very fast.
- The survival of these ‘Zombie’ stars being terms as a new type of supernova explosion — type lax.
But there are ‘Zombie’ stars which refuse to die. And, scientists just spotted three of them according to Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. They don’t move nearly as slowly as the zombies in movies.
Rising from the ashes
The three stars — J1603-6613, J1825-3757 and J0905-2510 rose from their flames to be born anew, like a phoenix.
The explosion actually burnt most of the ‘Zombie’ stars leaving only Neon, Oxygen and Magnesium behind. A normal star would be made up of Hydrogen, Helium and Iron. So, even though they’re relatively big in size, they have a low mass.
It’s a new kind of supernova
This is only the second time that ‘Zombie’ stars have been observed in the universe. The last time it was the cosmic object called LP 40-365, in 2017.
Our new observations strongly support the interpretation that the new stars, like LP 40-365, are the partly burnt white dwarf accretors that survived disruption from a thermonuclear supernova in a single-degenerate scenario.
At the time, the authors of the study dubbed these non-dying stars to be in their own supernova class — type lax. It’s different from other supernovae explosions because something of the original white dwarf star is left behind because the final explosion is somehow different, or even weaker.
According to the researchers, the discovery of the new ‘Zombie’ stars with help them find out more details about how the phenomenon came to be. Using their observations, they will try and understand the evolution of these stars, how the explosion mechanism works, the supernova rates and hopefully solve the mystery behind why these stars refuse to die.
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