Massive eruption on dead star pushes particles to cosmic speed limit

A burned-out stellar core produced a shockwave that pushed particles to their theoretical speed limit, scientists have reported.

Astronomers used a gamma-ray observatory in Namibia called the High Energy Stereoscopic System (HESS) to show how an eruption creates a shock wave that accelerates material around it super-fast speeds. The research focused on RS Ophiuchi, a nova that erupts every 15 to 20 years — most recently, in 2021.