Today I was wondering with a friend about the birth of a star. So we know that stars are born from a nebula, but the residue of a dead star (like a supernova) is itself a nebula. So can a star be born from this nebula?

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    $\begingroup$ Where do you think most of the oxygen in your lungs came from? Or are you specifically asking whether 1 supernova remnant alone can give birth to new stars? $\endgroup$ – Rob Jeffries Jul 22 '15 at 0:26
  • $\begingroup$ @RobJeffries for that to happen, you'd have to have sufficient material around to stop the explosive debris in it's tracks while it was still compact enough to self-gravitate. That, or a powerful interstellar magnetic bottle set up. Given supernova debris initial multi-thousand kps dispersion, that's just not likely. $\endgroup$ – Wayfaring Stranger Jul 22 '15 at 19:47
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    $\begingroup$ @WayfaringStranger Of course this can't happen. That's why I was trying to clarify what the question actually was. The simple answer is no. A supernova cannot "make a new star". But new born stars contain material produced by many supernovae. The question certainly isn't about triggering. $\endgroup$ – Rob Jeffries Jul 22 '15 at 19:50

This idea has been around for decades, so I'm not sure who first came up with it. Here's a reasonably sourced article on the involvement of supernova in solar system formation:Exploding Star May Have Sparked Formation of Our Solar System

The shock wave from an exploding star likely helped trigger the formation of our solar system, according to a new 3D computer model, researchers say. The solar system is thought to have coalesced from a giant rotating cloud of gas and dust known as the solar nebula about 4.6 billion years ago. For decades, scientists have suspected a star explosion called a supernova helped trigger our solar system's formation. In particular, the shock wave from the explosion is thought to have compressed parts of the nebula, causing these regions to collapse. According to this theory, the shock wave would have injected material from the exploding star into the solar nebula.

So yes, material from supernova can end up triggering the formation of new suns, and material from supernova do end up mixed in with the nebular material that makes the new stars.

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  • $\begingroup$ So if an explosion will not find any new nebula, there could be a new star? $\endgroup$ – Leo91 Jul 23 '15 at 13:36
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    $\begingroup$ In a universe where the star that went supernova is the only object, perhaps the ejected material would eventually slow, self gravitate, and form another, highly metallic star. Unless of course there's already a black hole or neutron star waiting to capture the material. There are other complications as well: Types of Supernova: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernova#Type_I In the context of a normal galaxy, supernova remnants are going to be dispersed by attraction to other gravitational bodies long before any secondary star has a chance to form from the original material. $\endgroup$ – Wayfaring Stranger Jul 23 '15 at 14:09

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