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News Release 87 of 1039

September 9, 2014 01:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2014-38

Hubble Finds Companion Star Hidden for 21 Years in a Supernova's Glare

September 9, 2014: For over two decades astronomers have been patiently monitoring the fading glow of a supernova in a nearby galaxy. They've been looking for a suspected companion star that pulled off almost all of the hydrogen from the doomed star that exploded. At last Hubble's ultraviolet-light sensitivity pulled out the blue glow of the star from the cluttered starlight in the disk of the galaxy. This observation confirms the theory that the supernova originated in a double-star system where one star fueled the mass-loss from the aging primary star. The surviving star's brightness and estimated mass provide insight into the conditions that preceded the 1993 explosion.

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Artist's Illustration Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)

Science Credit: NASA, ESA, and O. Fox (University of California, Berkeley)