'Death Star' Gamma-Ray Gun Pointed Straight at Earth

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MKruer
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'Death Star' Gamma-Ray Gun Pointed Straight at Earth

Post #1by MKruer » 06.03.2008, 01:21

Eight years ago, WR104 was discovered in the constellation Sagittarius by Sydney University astronomer Peter Tuthill.

A Wolf-Rayet star is the last step on the way to a supernova ?€” the explosion of a star at the end of its life.

Images from the Mauna Kea in Hawaii telescope show that every eight months the two stars at the centre of the pinwheel orbit each other, leaving a trail of hot gas, carbon and dust.

"Viewed from Earth, the rotating tail appears to be laid out on the sky in an almost perfect spiral," Tuthill said. "It could only appear like that if we are looking nearly exactly down on the axis of the binary system."


http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,335186,00.html

better get out that one billion sunblock :twisted:

chris
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Post #2by chris » 06.03.2008, 02:05

Fox News is a notoriously poor news source . . .

Here's Peter Tuthill's paper on WR 104: http://arxiv.org/pdf/0712.2111v1

And the Bad Astronomer as a nice summary: http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2008 ... ray-burst/

--Chris

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MKruer
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Post #3by MKruer » 06.03.2008, 02:39

chris wrote:Fox News is a notoriously poor news source . . .

Here's Peter Tuthill's paper on WR 104: http://arxiv.org/pdf/0712.2111v1

And the Bad Astronomer as a nice summary: http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2008 ... ray-burst/

--Chris

After reading both the paper and the Bad Astronomer summery, I have yet to find out why why you think the "Fox News is a notoriously poor news source . . ." when all said roughly the same thing, unless you are assuming some sort of bias which has no relevance to what was posted. Anthing political should be posted in the purgatory.

Statistically Fox may be bad, but it is no worse then the AP, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC and BBC all of which didn't post anything about this.

BTW thanks for the other links.

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Post #4by Hungry4info » 06.03.2008, 13:42

Yeah, Fox news is quite poor indeed. They tend to overexaggerate. CNN is also good at publishing habitability stores for Hot Jupiters.
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Reiko
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Post #5by Reiko » 07.03.2008, 03:32

According to one of those articles the gamma ray burst would have to be precisely aimed at us and the chances of that are pretty low.

But still, the fact that there is a slim chance that something so far away could pose a possible danger is a bit frightening.

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Post #6by LordFerret » 07.03.2008, 07:31

I think Betelgeuse (eventually) going nova might pose more a of danger?

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Post #7by MKruer » 07.03.2008, 20:54

The problem is not so much distance, but the focus of high intensity particles. Because WR104?€™s pole if more or less facing us, most of the energy will be directed towards us, that is what would make that particular supernova so dangerous. Also Betelgeuse does not pose the same type of problem. Betelgeuse would end up as a Type II supernova, where WR104 would be a Type Ib/Ic. Incidentally Type I supernovae are though to create the gamaray burst, not type II.

A typical supernova of Type II ( massive star ) can brighten by about 18 to 20 magnitudes. Since Betelgeuse is a visual magnitude of +1, it will be perhaps a magnitude of -17 to -19 magnitude. This is brighter than the Full Moon ( about -18 ) but a bit fainter than the Sun ( -26m).

Nutshell: hazardous area for a Type I <2000ly, for a Type II its closer to <20-30ly

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Post #8by Joey P. » 22.08.2019, 20:49

WR 104 is located 8 000 light years away from Earth.
Joey P.


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