Exploding Star Smashes Into Its Non-Exploding Star Friend

NGC 5643. Image: wikimedia.org/CC BY-SA 3.0 Based on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, and obtained from the Hubble Legacy Archive, which is a collaboration between the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI/NASA), the Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility (ST-ECF/ESA) and the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre (CADC/NRC/CSA).
“The universe is crazier than science fiction authors have dared to imagine.”

By Becky Ferreira | MOTHERBOARD

Stars, like people, often hang out with their neighbors. Though our Sun appears to be a bit of a loner, with no obvious companions nearby, scientists have estimated that around half of all star systems in the Milky Way are comprised of at least two stars, including the closest system to our own, Alpha Centauri, which contains three.

But as fun as it is to have friends in life, kicking it with other stars also comes with major risks, as demonstrated by new research published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. Led by Griffin Hosseinzadeh, an astrophysics PhD student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the study reveals that an exploding star called SN (supernova) 2017cbv straight-up bodyslammed its companion star. While we’ve all had self-destructive friends, this is truly a whole other level.

„The universe is crazier than science fiction authors have dared to imagine,“ said Andy Howell, a staff scientist at Las Cumbres Observatory and Hosseinzadeh’s PhD adviser, in a statement. „Supernovae can wreck nearby stars, too, releasing unbelievable amounts of energy in the process.“

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