Unstable star threatens Earth

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by TILALLR1, Mar 5, 2008.

  1. TILALLR1

    TILALLR1 'Til All Are One

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    To top up on 2012 events, just read this in the news today.

    http://www.dailyastronomy.com/story...nstable star threatens Earth, says astronomer

    Its name is WR104, and it could spell the end of the world.

    A Sydney University astronomer has warned this week that the Earth could be destroyed when an unstable neighbouring star explodes.

    Dr Peter Tuthill said that observing WR104, a star system in the Sagittarius constellation, made him feel like he was "looking down a rifle barrel".

    When one of the system's central stars explodes as a supernova, it could send a narrow beam of gamma rays towards Earth. Some scientists believe gamma-ray storms have led to planet-wide mass extinctions.

    WR104 is a spiral system 8000 light years from Earth. One of the two stars locked in binary at its centre is a Wolf-Rayet (imminent supernova) type star.

    Tuthill has discovered that the pole the spiral spins on points almost exactly at Earth.

    It recently has been discovered that gamma rays are fired out along a star system's polar axis.

    Tuthill said the star was a "ticking bomb". "It's worrying enough. We do live on a fragile planet and this is one of the things that could be harmful. I used to appreciate this spiral just for its beautiful form, but now I can't help a twinge of feeling that it is uncannily like looking down a rifle barrel."

    Though there was debate among scientists about the effect of gamma-radiation blasts, some predicted they could burn off 50 per cent of the ozone layer, creating "dramatic" climate events like rampant global warming or even a nuclear winter, he said.

    Despite the threat posed by the star, Tuthill said he was not "selling up the real estate and moving to the Moon just yet". There were plenty of uncertainties that could mean the beam missed Earth and it may not happen for thousands of years yet.

    However, Canterbury University astronomer Associate Professor Peter Cottrell said the death star theory was "nice speculation", but "I wouldn't get too worried".

    Cottrell said Earth was "pretty small" and could easily be missed by the radiation.

    "Crossing the road is probably more of a danger."
     
  2. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    This is the most important point here. Science news is great for the press because they can always drum it up into something supposedly OH NOES but, in reality, the probability of actual catastrophe as a result of these otherworldly terrors is often VERY LOW - like in the .005% range.

    Besides, what could we actually do to stop the gamma rays?
     
  3. Ravenxl7

    Ravenxl7 W.A.F.F.L.E.O.

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    Interesting. I was watching the history channel and the discovery channel (was switching between the both, so can't remember wich one it was on), and there was something on there about a star that when it explodes, and the light finally reaches us, it should be visable here, even during the day.

    I find this kinda funny, as I'm a Sagittarius.
     
  4. Dropshot

    Dropshot Transform your destiny

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    8000 years light of distance... Even if it explodes now, it wouldtake a huge amoutn of time to reach us.
     
  5. TILALLR1

    TILALLR1 'Til All Are One

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    Thats the funny thing. It could have already exploded, the gamma radiation wave just hasn't reached us yet.
     
  6. Kupp

    Kupp Ford Fanboy TFW2005 Supporter

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    unless the star exploded 7995 years ago, and the sign of the explosion and the Gamma rays arrive in 4 years.

    I could have exploded already and we wouldn't know it.
     
  7. TILALLR1

    TILALLR1 'Til All Are One

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    Actually that is true. I guess unless the star is like 50 light years or less we really don't have much to worry about in our lifetimes.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22556771/

    Here is another article about it. Makes me feel a little better.
     
  8. Kupp

    Kupp Ford Fanboy TFW2005 Supporter

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    The point is we won't know until it happens, because all signs would travel with the gamma rays at the speed of light, more importantly all at the same speed.

    Heck it could have exploded while the pyramids were being built and the radiation is still on it's way. It could have exploded 5 seconds ago and we won't know until the year 10,000 AD.
     
  9. Foster

    Foster Super Mod

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    :lolol  GD is sure becoming the Chicken Little forum lately.
     
  10. Gnaw

    Gnaw Banned

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    The thread title lead me to believe it was about Tom Cruise.
     
  11. Lance Halberd

    Lance Halberd oh hai

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    Tinfoil underpants?
     
  12. Kupp

    Kupp Ford Fanboy TFW2005 Supporter

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    LMAO


    Well didn't Nostradamus predict that Bacon Flavored Vodka would be a sign of the end times?
     
  13. seeker311

    seeker311 The Collector

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    Man whatever, for all we know Hotdogs and pink toilet paper could be the doom of earth.
     
  14. pscoop

    pscoop Dead inside

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    I blame you then. :mad 

    I was really expecting something like this sooner in the thread. Athough I figured it would be Paris Hilton, Britney Spears or Lindsey Lohan. :lol 
     
  15. Lumpy

    Lumpy Taylor Swift Actionmaster Super Mod

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    so, we all gonna get bombarded by gamma radiation?

    i call dibs on the name hulk...
     
  16. CdnShockwave

    CdnShockwave The Prince of Poses TFW2005 Supporter

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    Since it's so far away and won't have any impact on us in our lifetimes' then the best course of action is to ignore it and leave the problem for future generations to deal with. We'll all be dead by then.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I have some nuclear waste that needs dumping at sea where it can't possibly impact human beings in any way.

    Funny, that was my first reaction too. :lol 
     
  17. Caterwaul

    Caterwaul Busou Shinki Loremaster

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    *shrug*
    Nothing we can do about it, nothing we can do to change it. Why gain ulcers worrying about it when we have other, more predictable problems?

    Anyways, even if it is going to turn into a supernova any time now, on a stellar cycle that's still a really long period in time when you consider it in human life spans. Compare it to the light year, which is itself a really small unit of measurement in stellar terms.
     
  18. Dark_Convoy

    Dark_Convoy Old Bastard Veteran

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    Once again, Phil Plait has to calm everybody down.

    Also, this article has pretty pictures:

    http://www.universetoday.com/2008/03/03/looking-down-the-barrel-of-a-gamma-ray-burst/
     
  19. Magelite

    Magelite I make stupid look good

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    I remember watching a programme about the deaths of stars. In the incredibley remote chance one of these gamma beams hit us, we would all be blinded by the bright light a split second before the ozone layer was burned away, and anything not killed by the gamma radiation would die a horrible death from the radiation from our own sun now reaching the Earth. All that could survive would be underwater life.

    Sleep nicely kids!
     
  20. Dark_Convoy

    Dark_Convoy Old Bastard Veteran

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    I will sleep tight because:

    1 - It's all dooms day prophecy BS, there are so many factors that would have to be "just right".

    2 - There is absolutely NOTHING we could do if it did happen, so why worry about it.
     

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