Long story short ...
A 'real' Death Star, not the fictional one from Star Wars is taking aim at Earth according to the March 1st issue of the Astrophysical Journal. Recent images from the Keck Observatory in Hawaii indicate that a pair of stars locked in a death spiral are tearing each other apart. One of the stars, called a Wolf-Rayet is in the 'Winter' season of its life and will eventually lose its mass and go supernova. The unfortunate thing for Earth is that when the star explodes, the axis, which happens to be aimed right at us, will shoot a Gamma Ray burst in our direction.
Good News! Bad News!
Good News: The star may not explode for another 100,000 years and is 8,000 light years from Earth.
Bad News: Unlike the moon-sized Death Star from Star Wars, which has to get close to a planet to vaporize it, this blazing spiral has the potential to burn worlds from thousands of light-years away.
Good News: We will have some warning before the star explodes.
Bad News: Uhhh ... Maybe a moments warning, because Gamma Rays travel at the speed of light, 186,000 miles per second.
Good News: Gamma Rays do not vaporize worlds as depicted by the fictitious Death Star.
Bad News: A Gamma Ray burst directed at Earth could damage chemicals in the Stratosphere, thereby depleting up to 50% or more of the Ozone layer. What's wrong with that ? The Ozone has 3-4% depletion at present, so a 50% depletion would drastically change our atmosphere for decades. In other words, such a 'raking' of the Ozone layer would lead to extinction of most living things within months".
Help Me Obiwan Kinobe, You're My Only Hope!
Heyyy! ... Maybe our fictitious Star Wars friends can help us build a BIG shield to protect against Gamma Ray bursts. Sorry! In this case, not even Ole' Ben Kinobe can help us. You see, Gamma Rays travel 'through' stars, planets, galaxies, big-honkin' shields, and so on. Get the picture ? Gulp!
Oh, That's Not Good ... What Can We Do ?
Nothing we can do, really. WR104 is the first star astronomers have detected that has its destructive sights set on us. There may be dozens, hundreds or thousands more undetected Wolf-Rayet type stars ready to blow their tops and shoot Gamma Rays at us.
My Humble Perspective ...
You see, we are here by design. It was NOT by chance or luck that we exist. We have a Creator who placed us here for a reason, and I for one am not worried about some star losing its cookies and depleting our Ozone or any other atmospheric layer.
The more I realize how inhospitable other parts of the 'known' universe are, the more I marvel at God's grand design in putting us on this planet, in this solar system, in this galaxy and in this part of the local galactic neighborhood.
I am just going to enjoy the life I have been blessed with and leave management of 'Space Stuff' to the Creator.
The Heavens Declare His Glory!
P.S. - Here are some WR104 resources for you to check out:
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Long story short ...