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outer space

Possible zombie star found 110 million light years from Earth

Astronomers believe that, using the Hubble Space Telescope, they have spotted a rare zombie star 110 million light years away.

When a Type Ia supernova takes place, it usually destroys the exploding white star, but in the case of the smaller and dimmer Type Iax supernova, a small portion of the dwarf star isn't obliterated, leaving behind the zombie star.

"Astronomers have been searching for decades for the star systems that produce Type Ia supernova explosions," Rutgers scientist Saurabh Jha said in a NASA statement:

Type Ia's are important because they're used to measure vast cosmic distances and the expansion of the universe.... The similarities between Type Iax's and normal Type Ia's make understanding Type Iax progenitors important, especially because no Type Ia progenitor has been conclusively identified. This discovery shows us one way that you can get a white dwarf explosion. [NASA]

The astronomers would like their findings to lead to understanding of the relationship between Type Iax and Type Ia supernovae and their star systems.