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HD49798 white dwarf companion
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XMM-Newton uncovers a celestial Rosetta stone
ESA's XMM-Newton orbiting X-ray telescope has uncovered a celestial Rosetta stone: the first close-up of a white dwarf star, circling a companion star, that could explode into a particular kind of supernova in a few million years. These supernovae are used as beacons to measure cosmic distances and ultimately understand the expansion of our Universe.
Astronomers have been on the trail of this mysterious object since 1997 when they discovered that something was giving off X-rays near the bright star HD 49798. Now, thanks to XMM-Newtons superior sensitivity, the mysterious object has been tracked along its orbit. The observation has shown it to be a white dwarf, the dead heart of a star, shining X-rays into space. 

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