Astronomers Observe Never Before Seen Event

Aug 21, 2017

Image of the accretion disk: A snapshot of the binary star system before the violent supernova explosion blew it to pieces.
Credit Russell Knightley

Mauna Kea telescopes were once again instrumental in the observation of a never before seen space event.

Astronomers at the Canada-France-Hawaiʻi telescope and Gemini telescope partnered with others in Arizona and the Canary Islands to document a star surviving a supernova.

A supernova is a cataclysmic explosion that leaves behind dust and gas.

But instead a white dwarf shot out.

This contradicts the belief that nothing could survive a supernova.

Astronomers connected the Gemini telescope’s mirror to the Canada-France-Hawaiʻi telescope’s spectrograph by fiber optic cable.

Mary Beth Laychak is the Outreach Program Manager at the Canada-France-Hawaiʻi telescope.

Laychak says astronomers will now be looking elsewhere in the galaxy to find similar events.

The white dwarf is now moving approximately 700,000 miles per hour 970 light years away from Earth.