This illustration offers a plausible scenario for how vagabond stars exploded as supernovae outside the cozy confines of galaxies.
1) A pair of black holes comes together during a galaxy merger, dragging with them up to a million stars each.
2) A double-star system wanders too close to the two black holes.
3) The black holes then gravitationally catapult the stars out of the galaxy. At the same time, the stars are brought closer together.
6) As material from the dead star is quickly dumped onto the surviving star, a supernova occurs.
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland
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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois