NASA/CXC/CfA/S. Chakraborti et al.
By Justin Worland
March 31, 2016

A collision between two white dwarfs—the remnants of a small star—likely caused the most recent supernova in our galaxy, according to new research.

The study, which relied on data from NASA and was published in The Astrophysical Journal, relied on new methods for understanding supernovas. Researchers estimate that the most recent supernova occurred around 110 years in a part of the galaxy not easily visible from Earth.

Researchers say that the new findings could help astronomers understand the rate at which the universe is expanding.

Write to Justin Worland at justin.worland@time.com.

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