SPACE: Cosmic Zombies

Cosmic Zombies - NASA

Close encounters with medium-size black holes can reanimate dead stars, if only momentarily, a new study suggests.

A team of astronomers performed computer simulations to determine what happens when a burned-out stellar corpse known as a white dwarf passes close to an intermediate-mass black hole — one that harbors between 1,000 and 10,000 times the mass of Earth’s sun.

The researchers determined that the black hole’s powerful gravity can stretch and distort the white dwarf’s previously inert innards so dramatically that nuclear-fusion processes can reignite for a few seconds, converting helium, carbon and oxygen into heavier elements such as iron.

By Mike Wall – Full Story at Live Science

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