Friday, November 10, 2017

Night of the Living Star

The Universe is an awesome place.  The more we study it, the more we just do not understand it.  We are left in awe at the majesty of it all. Astronomers recently discovered an interesting sight in the vastness of space.  They discovered a supernova that keeps exploding over and over for the last fifty or so years.

The supernova, iPTF14hls has been nicked named the "zombie star" due to its behavior. Like a walker or zombie from a zombie flick or The Walking Dead, iPTF14hls keeps exploding and then returns again only to explode eventually.  As you may remember from science class, a supernova is when a star explodes.  No star is eternal. They eventually destabilize and collapse in on themselves causing a huge explosion. After this explosion, very little is left of the star.  Its contents dissipate through the space around it into the cold of space.

Astronomers are not sure why this star keeps exploding and reabsorbing the contents.  They theorize that maybe its size has something to do with it.  This star is about 50 times the size of our own star.  Perhaps the rules do not apply in the same way as they do with a star the size of our own home star. This star offers opportunities to look at the universe in a different light.  We cannot assume that what applies to us here in the Solar System also applies elsewhere. 



Source:

https://www.nature.com/articles/nature24030

https://www.yahoo.com/news/star-refuses-die-even-explodes-012900666.html

https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/133bbfbf-04ef-395f-bf02-aeccccf0cb3b/ss_%27zombie%27-star-survived-going.html

https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/b98caa55-c39b-39bb-a447-866ec794eed5/ss_a-bizarre-supernova-keeps.html

https://www.engadget.com/2017/11/09/star-has-gone-supernova-multiple-times/

http://www.keckobservatory.org/recent/entry/LCO_supernova

https://www.inverse.com/article/38324-what-is-a-zombie-star-refuse-to-die

https://www.popsci.com/bizarre-zombie-exploding-star

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