(NEW YORK) — At the center of a mysterious nebula are two white dwarf stars that astronomers say will meet an explosive death in 700 million years, igniting an incredible supernova.
With a weight similar to the sun, the stars orbit around each other every 4.2 hours in a slow death spiral.
Their distance is slowly being erased to the extent that astronomers believe the stars will crash into each other in 700 million years in a most spectacular fashion.
Researchers said both stars are in the oddly shaped Henize 2-428 nebula. Before the explosive transformation into a supernova, the white dwarf will often fuse with a partner star to gain matter.
In this case, the fused white dwarf stars will have 1.8 times the mass of the sun before it collapses and explodes so brightly that the distant cosmic occurrence would be visible from Earth, according to researchers.
It’s the first time researchers have observed a “Type 1A” supernova in the making, according to findings that were published in the journal Nature.
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