We’re all about to be vaporised …again…apparently:
A STAR primed to explode in a blast that could wipe out the Earth was revealed by astronomers yesterday.
It will self-destruct in an explosion called a supernova with the force of 20 billion billion billion megatons of TNT.
New studies show the star, called T Pyxidis, is much closer than previously thought at 3,260 light-years away – a short hop in galactic terms.
So the blast from the thermonuclear explosion could strip away our ozone layer that keeps out deadly space radiation. Life on Earth would then be frazzled.
[T]he International Ultraviolet Explorer satellite has shown them that T Pyxidis is really two stars, one called a white dwarf that is sucking in gas and steadily growing. When it reaches a critical mass it will blow itself to pieces.
The experts said the Hubble space telescope has photographed the star gearing up for its big bang with a series of smaller blasts or “burps”, called novas.
These explosions came regularly about every 20 years from 1890 – but stopped after 1967.
So the next blast is nearly 20 years overdue
The article does not suggest that the next blast will be the one to wipe us out, although I can just see the 2012 doomsday cult using it regardless.
I have one question about all of this: will the blast wave travel at, above or below the speed of light? If the blast wave travels at or above the speed of light, we will never see it coming and really shouldn’t worry as there isn’t a darn thing we can do about it. If, on the other hand, the blast wave travels below the speed of light, then the question is “by how much?”. From that we can calculate the time between seeing the blast and feeling the effects of it…and if we’re technologically advanced enough at the time, how long we have to prepare a defence for our planet and…well probably our solar system if we don’t want gravity to be affected too much…we wouldn’t want to save our planet only to end up plunging in to the sun due to gravitational changes, now would we?
Oh, and I just have to note that news.com.au ran this story as well …but they did it in the “breaking news” section, with the headline “Self destructing Supernova explosion may wipe out earth”. It makes it sound like the explosion has already happened and we are on the brink of destruction. It’ll get lots of hits, and I suppose that’s what matters!
(Thanks to Kane Bond for alerting me to this story).