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'Zombie Star' Discovery A Universal Ruler (Of Sorts)

For the first time ever, NASA scientist discovered a supernova that caused a white dwarf star come back to life.
Posted at 8:17 PM, Aug 08, 2014

NASA says there are zombies in outer space! Ok, maybe not human zombies, but they did find what they're calling a "zombie star." 

NASA says for the first time ever, they have discovered a supernova that brought a white dwarf star back to life. 

White dwarfstars are old, dying stars that still have some light. Stars like the one in our solar system fuse hydrogen in its core into helium. White dwarf stars have already burned up all of their hydrogen. 

Supernovas are large massive explosions that would usually finish off a white dwarf star. But, in this rare case it rejuvenated it.

The white dwarf star was sucking energy from another nearby star when it became unstable and exploded into a supernova. The explosion resurrected the white dwarf and it is now fully functioning. 

That's when scientists say a second, smaller supernova occurred. So, all of this kind of sounds like a random and totally common celestial event, but some scientists say this case is special. 

This has given scientists a lot of new information about Type Ia supernovas, supernovas that are caused when one star gives energy to another, such as the case with the "zombie star." Scientist previously had never seen the explosion process. 

Scientists study supernovas to measure how the universe is expanding. TheLos Angeles Times reports a supernova created by a star this small, can really help them calculate distances. 

And that's not it: because of this discovery, scientist have been able to identify 30 similar supernovas that could also leave behind other "zombie stars." 

This video contains images from NASA