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Gamma Ray Bursts

gary107   posted:1/10/2012 3:00:41 AM  
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A BLAST of radiation from a passing star cluster could turn out to be the cause of a mass extinction on ancient Earth.

In 2003, a team led by Adrian Melott of the University of Kansas in Lawrence suggested that a gamma-ray burst within a few thousand light years of Earth triggered a mass extinction 440 million years ago. But proof has been elusive. Because these bursts occur when a single star explodes or two stellar corpses merge, there is little left to identify the culprit.

Unless, of course, the gamma-ray burst occurred in a massive swarm of stars called a globular cluster, which hosts many pairs of dead stars that might merge, says Wilfried Domainko of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany. Based on the number of star clusters in the Milky Way and the rate of gamma-ray bursts in them, Domainko calculates one probably exploded within striking distance of Earth at least once in the past billion years (arxiv.org/abs/1112.1792).

The European Space Agency's Gaia star-mapper, expected to launch in 2013, could track the guilty cluster down. Gaia will pinpoint the position and speed of such clusters, so we can see if any coincide with extinctions.

gary107   posted:1/11/2012 3:02:26 PM  
the GRB that did the 97% of life 200 plus million years ago was some 2000 light years from earth, Eta Carinae is said to be just 800 to 1000 light years away. It may have already gone off. Just waiting for the GRB wave front to hit. There are things that can be done but we do not have the economy to take action, like the Yellowstone impeding eruption. Lack of social structure may be our end. Sorry about that.
LincolnGenghis   posted:1/14/2012 2:59:59 PM  
Interesting article, and yeah I agree with you on the Yellowstone Super Volcano, that one I have been following for years. I think time wise though impending might be the wrong word. Time wise I think it would be almost fair to say overdue.
To tell you the truth I hope it stays overdue for the next couple thousand years.

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