These supernovas are whipping up a storm, contributing to cosmic life and death

Astronomers have discovered a hitherto unknown source of the cosmic dust. As to why this dust is important to track? Well, these particles basically act as building blocks for stars.

The international team found that such dust can be created by a type of cosmic explosion that occurs when a dead white dwarf star strips material from a stellar companion, then interacts with gas from its immediate surroundings. These events are called “Type 1a supernovas” and are often referred to as “standard candles” by astronomers because their uniform light output can be used to measure cosmic distances.

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