When astronomers first spotted the white dwarf designated LP 40-365 about 2,000 light years from Earth back in 2017, it was hard not to take notice.
Rocketing against the rotation of the Milky Way, the white dwarf was travelling almost 2 million mph (about 3.2 million km/h), which is about four times faster than our sun rotates around the galactic core. At this speed, the star is well on its way to escaping the gravitational pull of the Milky Way and entering intergalactic space.
Even more noticeable, according to LiveScience, was its composition, laden with heavy metals like oxygen, carbon, and magnesium (any atom larger than helium is considered a metal by astronomers). While it's not unusual for white dwarfs to have carbon and oxygen compositions, this star had magnesium and neon, which are typically formed under the intense energy of a supernova.
This led researchers with Boston University's (BU) department of astronomy to study the star and piece together the puzzle of what sent it careening through the galaxy to its ultimate destination into the far reaches of intergalactic space. Their findings, published in The Astronomical Journal Letters, points to the catastrophic supernova.