When a massive star in a binary system explodes as a supernova, its companion star may be polluted with heavy elements from the supernova ejecta. Such pollution has been detected in a handful of post-supernova binaries1, but none of them is associated with a supernova remnant. We report the discovery of a binary G star strongly polluted with calcium and other elements at the position of the candidate neutron star [GV2003] N within the young galactic supernova remnant RCW 86. Our discovery suggests that the progenitor of the supernova that produced RCW 86 could have been a moving star, which exploded near the edge of its wind bubble and lost most of its initial mass because of common-envelope evolution shortly before core collapse, and that the supernova explosion might belong to the class of calcium-rich supernovae — faint and fast transients2,3, the origin of which is strongly debated4–6.
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This work is based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory, Chile, under programmes 095.D-0061 and 385.D-0198(A). V.V.G. thanks M. G. Revnivtsev (who passed away in November 2016) and M. R. Gilfanov for discussions and acknowledges support from the Russian Science Foundation grant 14-12-01096. This research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. NSF PHY11-25915.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Gvaramadze, V., Langer, N., Fossati, L. et al. A solar-type star polluted by calcium-rich supernova ejecta inside the supernova remnant RCW 86. Nat Astron 1, 0116 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-017-0116
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