Twin stars which are located at the center of a bizarrely developed planetary nebula are going to be sharing an explosive fate. Scientists have found that while evaluating and researching the planetary nebula, in an effort to determine how they develop their strange and varying shapes, that two stars at the center of it would be relegated to a supernova explosion in due time. The researchers, who were led by a group from Spain, didn’t set out to find these stars, which shared a doomed fate. Rather, they were attempting to understand how these planetary nebula gained their awkward shape. The Cat’s Eye Nebula and the Helix Nebula are two well-known planetary nebulae which have bizarrely formed shapes, and don’t carry specific physical formations.
The team noted that “The origin of their complex morphologies is poorly understood,” and thus was a major reason for the advanced research on the existence of the nebula. Interestingly though, scientists identified that within the Henize 2-428 nebula, there were two stars – with the approximate mass of 1.8 suns together – were spinning around each other. Now, while we’re not going to see the merging of these two stars in the somewhat near-future. In the science world, it will take just 700 million years to see these two stars merge, and when they do, the results will be a supernova explosion. The research team actually found that their orbital period was just 4.2 hours, and gaining – something that would be a major concern – if were happening closer.
Combine the fact that these stars are too heavy, and too close, and that leaves scientists watching a long-term ticking time bomb. This type of formation though, of a supernova, is something that scientists previously had only theorized about. Now though, as Dr. David Jones said, “Until now, the formation of supernovae Type Ia by the merging of two white dwarfs was purely theoretical.” He was another one of the co-authors of the paper, and really showed just how important these findings actually would prove to be in the long run. This type of supernova was actually the very kind that allowed scientists to find, and shed light on dark matter – which was a crucial turning point in the science and space world.