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Posted: August 09, 2014

NASA says ‘zombie star' discovered for the first time ever

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This image provided by NASA shows an artist rendering of the newfound planet known as Kepler-37b. The planet is about the size of our moon and is the smallest known exoplanet, according to a study published in Thursday Feb. 21,2013 issue of the journal Nature. (AP Photo/NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech)

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            NASA says ‘zombie star' discovered for the first time ever
This image provided by NASA shows an artist rendering of the newfound planet known as Kepler-37b. The planet is about the size of our moon and is the smallest known exoplanet, according to a study published in Thursday Feb. 21,2013 issue of the journal Nature. (AP Photo/NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech)

By Madison Burke

NASA says there are zombies in outer space! OK, maybe not human zombies, but they did find what they're calling a "zombie star." 

NASA says for the first time ever, they have discovered a supernova that brought a white dwarf star back to life. 

White dwarf stars are old, dying stars that still have some light. Stars like the one in our solar system fuse hydrogen in its core into helium. White dwarf stars have already burned up all of their hydrogen. 

Supernovas are massive explosions that would usually finish off a white dwarf star. But, in this rare case it rejuvenated it.

The white dwarf star was sucking energy from another nearby star when it became unstable and exploded into a supernova. The explosion resurrected the white dwarf and it is now fully functioning. 

That's when scientists say a second, smaller supernova occurred. So, all of this kind of sounds like a random and totally common celestial event, but some scientists say this case is special. 

This has given scientists a lot of new information about Type Ia supernovas, supernovas that are caused when one star gives energy to another, such as the case with the "zombie star." Scientist previously had never seen the explosion process. 

Scientists study supernovas to measure how the universe is expanding. The Los Angeles Times reports a supernova created by a star this small, can really help them calculate distances. 

And that's not it: Because of this discovery, scientist have been able to identify 30 similar supernovas that could also leave behind other "zombie stars." 

This video contains images from NASA

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