The team used the same theoretical predictions as Cao's team did to analyze their data and found no sign of ejecta slamming into companion stars
So Mauerhan's team cannot measure the mass of each star, the distance between them, or the amount of material spilling onto the companion star
"What's more, the spots were much larger relative to the companion star
's diameter than our Sun's sunspots."
"The companion star
revolves around the common centre of mass at a dizzying rate, almost 20 times faster than Earth orbits the Sun," said lead author Erik Kuulkers of ESA's European Space Astronomy Centre in Spain.
Freire cautions that each measurement has a significant uncertainty, because precession directly reveals the total mass of a pulsar plus its companion star
, rather than the mass of the pulsar alone.
"While we can't speak to all Type Ia supernovas, our evidence points to Kepler being caused by a white dwarf pulling material from a companion star
, and not the merger of two white dwarfs," said the first author of the new Chandra study, Mary Burkey of North Carolina State University (NCSU).
These objects give off more X-rays than most binary systems, in which a companion star
orbits the remains of a collapsed star.
According to a widely accepted model, the stage is set for a type la supernova when a dense, Earthsize star called a white dwarf steals gas from a bloated companion star
. When the gas-guzzling white dwarf tips the scales at more than 1.4 times the mass of the sun, it blows to smithereens.
Surprisingly, this discovery comes not from the high-energy space telescope that originally detected the sources but from standard ground-based telescopes, which can catch the visible light from the companion star
"It is only much later that they begin to feel the effects of their companion star
, which often times leads to disruption of the planetary system," he added.
Astronomers failed to find any companion star
near the center of the remnant, and this rules out all but one solution, so the only remaining possibility is that this one Type Ia supernova came from a pair of white dwarfs in close orbit.
Such an event occurs when a white dwarf--the burnedout remains of a star similar in mass to the sun--siphons gas onto its surface from a companion star
and eventually accumulates a layer of material that causes the white dwarf to explode.