NASA has decided that zombies are in fact out there, only that they are referring to a new variety of stars rather than the living dead. Examining the images sent by the Hubble Space Telescope researchers have discovered the remnant of a star that resulted out of a supernova which should have, at least theoretically, blown it away.
The “unusually weak” explosion, SN 2012Z, took place 110 million light years away in the NGC 1309 galaxy. In the process, it’s believed to have stripped away the zombie star’s outer hydrogen envelope, though left behind its core of helium.
The hope is to use Hubble again come 2015, when it will observe the area once more. By that point, astronomers hope that the light from the supernova will have dimmed sufficiently that the zombie star and whatever helium companion it might have will be visible.
With that data, it’s possible that we’ll gain better understanding of how white dwarf explosions occur, which so far has proved something of a mystery. More than thirty mini-supernovas have been cataloged which may each have left a remaining zombie white dwarf.