It ocurred me, if a star with at least one planetary companion undergoes a nova or supernova, we shoud expect the debris to be deflected to some degree, on exit. To ilustrate it, first let's take the example of a lone star exploding in a unlikely very symmetric spherical nebula:

enter image description here

Now, if the star has a companion planet, I think a bump will be generated in the expansion front of the debris cloud:

enter image description here

I know the nebulae generated by stellar explosions tend to be quite irregular, so I ask, how hard it would be to try filter out the noise and isolate these possible bumps generated by planets, to infer their past existence, or even present existence, in case they withstood the explosion?

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    $\begingroup$ Unless a super-Jupiter that is really close, quite unlikely. Between solid angle considerations and energetic mixing in the expanding debris, the ejecta will pretty much be symmetric. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Mar 25 at 15:31
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    $\begingroup$ A parallel worth investigating is how obstructions shape (or don't shape) the fireball of an atomic bomb. $\endgroup$
    – Drake P
    Mar 26 at 15:58
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    $\begingroup$ what-if.xkcd.com/73 "However big you think supernovae are, they're bigger than that." $\endgroup$
    – RonJohn
    Mar 27 at 6:33

1 Answer 1


The escape speed of a big planet like Jupiter is about 60 km/s. The speed of the ejecta from a supernova explosion is something like $10^4$ km/s.

i.e. Jupiter would have little discernable gravitational effect on the ejecta from a supernova.

And you are right, supernova remnants are not spherically symmetric, so separating out any tiny effect from the bigger asymmetries caused by the supernova progenitor rotation, magnetic field, turbulence at the core etc. would be close-to impossible. I say "close-to" because one cannot predict what advances in technology and understanding may emerge in the future.

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    $\begingroup$ In addition to turbulence in the core, the ejecta moving rapidly through the background plasma generates its own turbulence. Turbulence by nature is going to be irregular and chaotic (i.e. "close-to" impossible to predict). $\endgroup$
    – craq
    Mar 27 at 2:44

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