This explosion of stars is similar to a typical nova event: A white dwarf star receives gas from another star orbiting around it, heats up, and explodes. Remarkably, both stars usually survive this explosion. These nova explosions also explain how we get lithium in our universe. It’s produced as a byproduct of these explosions.
But Nova explosions are not a new discovery. One of the earliest nova explosions was observed in our own galaxy, the Milky Way.
To study these nova explosions in the M87 galaxy, researchers used the Hubble Space Telescope and found 135 of them. These events are happening a vast 54 million light years away from Earth. What’s intriguing is that these explosions seem to be more common in the direction of M87’s fast-moving gases. Statistically, there are more explosions along the gas jet compared to other areas of the galaxy.
However, we still don’t fully understand how these gas jets trigger these explosions. One theory is that the jet pushes interstellar gas onto white dwarf stars, causing them to explode.
The challenge with such hypotheses is that we need more data to confirm our assumptions. For now, further research will involve studying other galaxies to determine if this phenomenon occurs elsewhere as well.