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01/06/2010 04:17 PM ID: 82344 Permalink   

Nearby Star Primed to go Supernova, Could Destroy Life on Earth


Astronomers have announced that T Pyxidis, a white dwarf, is growing toward critical mass and is primed to go supernova. They also discovered that the star is not as far away as first thought - 3,260 light-years, close by galactic standards.

Smaller novas were observed every two decades from 1890-1967 and one is badly overdue. When the star goes supernova it will be visible across half the universe. The blast could tear off Earth's ozone layer, exposing the planet to deadly radiation.

"The star may certainly became a supernova soon - but soon could still be a long way off so don't have nightmares," said Robin Scagell, vice president of the Society for Popular Astronomy in the UK.

    WebReporter: ixuzus Show Calling Card      
ASSESS this news: BLOCK this news. Reason:
I wish I knew what part of this was true, and what part is just very bad reporting.

I mean, a star thousands of light-years away could go supernova and strip away our atmosphere ´any minute´, and be visible across the universe? And time is not a factor in any of this? Nonsense.
  by: Ec5618   01/06/2010 06:09 PM     
  Easy to explain!  
EC, you need to remember that this thing is ~3200 light years away. This means that whatever you see right now happened 3200-ish years ago. Thus, if the star is ready to go (already has gone) supernova, and it does (it did) then it will (it will) do damage to us.

The problem when talking about a timeline with things that are away in a distance measured in light years is the grammar about events that have already happened in time, but will not be observable till a later point.

Just be glad that we don´t have time travel. Just imagine the grammar describing you going to the past to do something that you haven´t done in this time frame but already experienced previously....

  by: gbestwick   01/06/2010 06:43 PM     
  Interesting, but big deal  
People, you´re all going to die some day anyway.
  by: vex   01/06/2010 07:12 PM     
everytime I smoke bud I understand these things way better .. :-)

I´m not kidding .. I love deep thought :-)
  by: Key2000     01/06/2010 09:14 PM     
We´ll get sunburned, I guess.
  by: H. W. Hutchins   01/06/2010 09:27 PM     
  Hey Key2000 pass some of that this way.  
Time to get out the diamondillium and the Diamondium.
  by: Mannyishere     01/06/2010 09:37 PM     
  If It Has Already Blown?  
Am I already dead and don´t know it?
  by: ichi     01/07/2010 12:13 AM     
  Well Start building your  
bunker/space suit now..... You worry about all these things you end up offing yourself like the Indian Girl did because of the supercollider.
  by: OrIgInAl_ThOuGhT   01/07/2010 12:57 AM     
  Dead Pool...  
Pick you date. I´ve got Dec 21, 2012.
  by: Valkyrie123     01/07/2010 01:04 AM     
  It´s simple.  
We see it now as a white dwarf now, But the light we see now is from 3200 years ago.

It may have gone nova up to 3199 years ago and the flash and reached us yet. Or it could have went Nova today which means it will be 3200 years before we get the effect.

Either way there´s no point in worrying about it.

I´m watching the planet killers barrel we are staring down from WR104 in the Sagittarius constellation. There are a pair of unstable stars at the heart just waiting to burst. And unfortunately we are right in it´s sights. The gamma beam produced will effectively sterilize anything in it´s path.
  by: Synister1   01/07/2010 03:21 AM     
  Don´t have nightmares..  
who is he kidding! LOl
  by: captainJane     01/07/2010 03:46 AM     
  I´m confused  
If this thing goes supernova, surely it´s only the LIGHT that takes 3200 years to reach us?

Source says "the blast" is what would wipe off the worlds o-zone layer but I´m assuming that would take a much longer time to reach us than the light of the damn thing, correct? So we´d know in advance?
  by: Anost1   01/07/2010 05:40 AM     
  Bring it on!  
Can´t stop it, so don´t worry about it!
  by: Kolman   01/07/2010 08:33 AM     
Any radiation That comes from that explosion will travel at the speed of light. Visible light is just one type of radiation that we can see with the naked eye. There are a lot more types of radiation that can do harm to life that cant be seen with the naked eye. Meaning that wen we see the explosion it´s too late. In the other had, the actual atomic particles and debris from the star will probably never reach earth.
  by: Lord Marshal   01/07/2010 11:23 AM     
  Relatively though...  
...any one of us being around when this explodes would be as likely as catching a bullet from 3 miles away whilst blindfolded and wearing earmuffs.
We exist for a nanosecond in relation to these events.

...and as Koleman said ´Can´t stop it, so don´t worry about it!´
  by: ozric   01/07/2010 11:47 AM     
.... Jor El has packed the crystal baby-crib with his leotard, a picnic basket, and his infant son. Humanity´s savior will arrive shortly.
  by: theironboard     01/07/2010 12:46 PM     
Well, I´m not losing any sleep over this.

Somehow, and this is just a guess, but a good one, I doubt any of this crap effects my life whatsoever. Just watch. 20 bucks if I´m right? And shortnews is still around while I´m on my deathbed?
  by: Dayron   01/07/2010 03:04 PM     
I´ve picked dates before. Then they came and passed.

I don´t pick dates anymore.
  by: Dayron   01/07/2010 03:06 PM     
  Did somebody say Scalar?!  
  by: Zmethod     01/07/2010 06:16 PM     
really if this happened 3200 years ago why arent we already dead?
  by: groomsy     01/07/2010 08:09 PM     
"really if this happened 3200 years ago why arent we already dead? "

Simple. Imagine that someone is standing on a mountain just at the edge of the horizon and they throw a baseball at you. Now, completely ignoring air resistance and all the other things that ruin my example, the ball takes 5 minutes to get to you and bonk you on the head. While the event of him throwing it may have happened 5 minutes ago, you are only becoming aware of it now.

The same thing happens with light and radiation. With out current understanding of physics right now, light can only travel so fast. About 1,079,000,000 KPH or 671,000,000 MPH. Even though that is really stinking fast, it still takes time to get there. In the case of this star, about 3260 years.

So, in the case that the event has already happened, we just haven´t observed it yet.

Clear as mud?

Now to further complicate this the particles that the Supernova spew off travel slower than the light/radiation. So, its possible that we see this thing pop, get irradiated by the initial radiation blast and then a few hundred thousand years later or atmosphere gets BBQ´d by the wave of ionized matter.

Isn´t astrophysics fun?
  by: gbestwick   01/07/2010 10:02 PM     
Quit promoting your cheap diamondillium!

*adjusts glasses*
  by: blackshroud   01/07/2010 10:44 PM     
I´ll take what´s behind door #3 bob ..

  by: Key2000     01/08/2010 05:11 AM     
  It´s not 21.12.2012...  
...according to George Kavassilas, 21.12.2012 is where the gateways begin to open.
The actual end, supposedly, is around March, 2013.
  by: itts   01/09/2010 04:43 AM     
this sort of reminds me of something that happened a couple years , it was during fun days i was coming home and it was like maybe 10 pm CST time, and there was this big flash, the whole sky lit up, i was walking home with my father but he didnt see it. a couple days later i read a super nova went off somewhere
  by: groomsy     01/14/2010 05:54 AM     
  What a load of rubbish.  
I actually know something about supernova´s and this article is absolutely ridiculous. It´s what happens when you give brainless scaremonger´s a keyboard and an internet connection.

Here are some facts to calm you down.

Fact: The closest star to us that is anywhere near ready to go supernova is a star in the spyker system, which is 320 light years. Note that I say the lightyear period is in the hundreds, not thousands. Now if this star that is 320 lightyears away from us goes supernova, do you know what happens to us?


It cant touch us from that far.

So what do you suppose a star going supernova 3,200 light years away is going to do to us?

You guessed it.


Furthermore, we know that the universe is expanding, so we know that the space between stars is becoming greater, therefor your chances of anything going supernova near us in the future are very, very, very slim.
  by: kiimo saabi   08/25/2010 12:24 AM     
  That is all  
Another reason why this article is so ridiculous is that it does´nt take relativity into account.

The Earth has been around for what, 3 billion years or so. We have been evolving for a little less than that.

During all that time, we´ve never been hit with anything hard, or destructive enough to kill us all.

That suggests one of two possibilities. Either there are no stars near enough to us to damage us, even if they do go supernova, OR, there are stars close enough to damage us when they go, but none of them have run out of their fuel and exploded since the earth was form (or at least since we have been around).

So, we know that in billions of years, there has never been a supernova close enough to kill us. We know this, because we´re still here.

Now here´s the bad news. If you really want to worry about something that will definitely happen, then read on.

Within 100 years, YOU, the person reading this, will definitely die. 100% chance of it. There´s no escaping it, its called nature. And that WILL happen to you in less than a hundred years, guaranteed.

And thats why I mentioned relativity.

Which do you think you should worry about more, an event which in millions of years has never happened to us, or an event which WILL be happening to you very soon.

Want to worry about something important? Worry about not living a fullfilled life by the time you die and start doing something about it now, instead of sitting around worrying about something that is either not going to happen, or something that will happen so fast, you wont even know about it anyway.
  by: kiimo saabi   08/25/2010 12:55 AM     
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