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An Exploding Star 65 Light-Years Away From Earth May Have Triggered a Mass Extinction

Bob N

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Underestimated

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I knew we gave up on aerosol cans and Freon coolants too easily. The culprit may actually be stars blowing up millions of years ago and pummeling our atmosphere with cosmic radiation over thousands of years.

On a more serious note, it's an interesting hypothesis, though suffering from the causation vs. correlation issue. Hopefully they stay investigating especially if enough of those rare isotopes are found on earth.
 

Helix

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it's not because of greenhouse gasses like all of those smarty pants scientamatists say. it's because the moon has a fever. all we have to do is send Bruce Willis up to drill some holes and pour acetaminophen into them.
 

tecoyah

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Life was certainly impacted by the Devonian event and indications are pointing to Supernova destroying our ozone layer as a cause. That was 360 million years ago however and I worry more about Betelgeuse as it may already have created our sixth extinction event but we wont know until the wave gets here in a few Centuries.
 

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Apparently according to some scientists global warming is not man made; it's coming from space and it may have contributed to killing life during the Late Devonian extinction. Exploding stars, Supernovas. Science is looking for iron-60, plutonium-244 and samarium-146 from that period in geographic layers.



An Exploding Star 65 Light-Years Away From Earth May Have Triggered a Mass Extinction
I just came across this article myself about five minutes ago. The hypothesis has legs, in that scientists have long said civilizations like ours would never evolve in crowded parts of the galaxy due to cosmic ray bombardment. Us living in the outskirts of the Milky Way is no coincidence.

Anyway, we now look for proof.

...if plutonium-244 and samarium-146 and can be found buried in the Devonian–Carboniferous boundary, the researchers say we'll basically have our smoking gun: interstellar evidence that firmly implicates a dying star as the trigger behind one of Earth's worst-ever die-offs.
 

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In terms of relative distance in the universe and galaxy, 65 light years is pretty much our back yard.
 

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Apparently according to some scientists global warming is not man made; it's coming from space and it may have contributed to killing life during the Late Devonian extinction. Exploding stars, Supernovas. Science is looking for iron-60, plutonium-244 and samarium-146 from that period in geographic layers.

An Exploding Star 65 Light-Years Away From Earth May Have Triggered a Mass Extinction
I have heard this theory proposed, but do not consider it credible for a couple of reasons.

Stellar deaths within 65 light years cannot go unnoticed, even when they occur 376 to 360 million years ago. Even the gradual death of a star that is under 3 solar masses would be visible today.

First, if the star "exploded" or resulted in a nova or supernova, it would mean that the star has mass greater than 3 solar masses, but less than 10 solar masses (otherwise it would have left a black hole). There are no stars with more than three solar masses within 65 light-years of Earth.

Second, there would be remnants of the ejecta from the nova or supernova. The closest nebula to Earth is the Helix (NGC 7293) planetary nebula (not from an exploding star) in the constellation Aquarius is 655 ± 13 light-years away. The closest supernova remnant is the Lambda Orionis Ring (a.k.a. the Angelfish Nebula) 1,100 light-years away, but that was created approximately one million years ago.

While the premise of the paper is plausible, the absence of any evidence of a stellar remnant invalidates the theory.
 

tecoyah

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I have heard this theory proposed, but do not consider it credible for a couple of reasons.

Stellar deaths within 65 light years cannot go unnoticed, even when they occur 376 to 360 million years ago. Even the gradual death of a star that is under 3 solar masses would be visible today.

First, if the star "exploded" or resulted in a nova or supernova, it would mean that the star has mass greater than 3 solar masses, but less than 10 solar masses (otherwise it would have left a black hole). There are no stars with more than three solar masses within 65 light-years of Earth.

Second, there would be remnants of the ejecta from the nova or supernova. The closest nebula to Earth is the Helix (NGC 7293) planetary nebula (not from an exploding star) in the constellation Aquarius is 655 ± 13 light-years away. The closest supernova remnant is the Lambda Orionis Ring (a.k.a. the Angelfish Nebula) 1,100 light-years away, but that was created approximately one million years ago.

While the premise of the paper is plausible, the absence of any evidence of a stellar remnant invalidates the theory.
Who would have noticed a supernova 300 million years ago?
 

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Life was certainly impacted by the Devonian event and indications are pointing to Supernova destroying our ozone layer as a cause. That was 360 million years ago however and I worry more about Betelgeuse as it may already have created our sixth extinction event but we wont know until the wave gets here in a few Centuries.
What "indications?" There is absolutely no evidence of a nova or supernova within a thousand light-years of Earth that occurred 360 million years ago. Betelgeuse will supernova, and when it does it will be visible even during daylight for several days, but since it is ~548 light-years away it poses no threat to Earth.
 

longview

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I knew we gave up on aerosol cans and Freon coolants too easily. The culprit may actually be stars blowing up millions of years ago and pummeling our atmosphere with cosmic radiation over thousands of years.

On a more serious note, it's an interesting hypothesis, though suffering from the causation vs. correlation issue. Hopefully they stay investigating especially if enough of those rare isotopes are found on earth.
The regulations limiting aerosol pollution, could account for quite a bit of the observed recent warming,
that would still make the warming man made!
Global dimming and brightening: A review
 

tecoyah

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There paper is based entirely upon assumptions made about isotopes they found on Earth, not from any evidence in space. The only thing they got right is the distance. A supernova would have to be within 100 light-years to have any effect on Earth.

You obviously didn't read the paper. I have. They present absolutely no evidence of a supernova within a 1,000 light-years of Earth. None, nada, zilch.
 

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I would recommend you brush up a bit on astrophysics. When supernovas occur they do not simply vanish and leave no trace of their existence behind, as this paper wants people to believe. Supernova remnants remain for billions of years.

You might want to actually read the papers you post, because the paper you are citing agrees with me. There are only two supernova candidates near Earth, and they are both more than 100 light years away. Although your paper suggests that the supernova needs to be within ~10 parsecs to cause harm to Earth, while I agree with the former paper that says the supernova needs to be within ~30 parsecs, or about 100 light-years.

Once again, there is no evidence that a nova or a supernova occurred within 100 light-years of Earth in the last billion years.
 

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There paper is based entirely upon assumptions made about isotopes they found on Earth, not from any evidence in space. The only thing they got right is the distance. A supernova would have to be within 100 light-years to have any effect on Earth.

You obviously didn't read the paper. I have. They present absolutely no evidence of a supernova within a 1,000 light-years of Earth. None, nada, zilch.

Of course, you do realize that supernova remnants typically dissipate on a much shorter time frame than 360 million years. Also, Type Ia Supernovae caused by White Dwarf mass accumulation probably don't leave a visible remnant at all.

http://www.messier.seds.org/snr.html
 

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Of course, you do realize that supernova remnants typically dissipate on a much shorter time frame than 360 million years. Also, Type Ia Supernovae caused by White Dwarf mass accumulation probably don't leave a visible remnant at all.

http://www.messier.seds.org/snr.html
No they do not dissipate within 360 million years, and Type Ia SNe do leave visible remnants. We can even measure the blueshift of the Type Ia ejecta. That is one of the ways we can distinguish between a Type Ia and a Type Iax SNe.
 

joko104

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Wait a minute. It would only take 65 years for radiation from an exploding star 65 light years away to reaching earth.
 

tecoyah

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Wait a minute. It would only take 65 years for radiation from an exploding star 65 light years away to reaching earth.
Nope....Much, much longer unless in light wavelength. Matter would probably be ejected at 10,000 mph or so.
 

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Wait a minute. It would only take 65 years for radiation from an exploding star 65 light years away to reaching earth.
True, and I happen to agree with the OPs original paper that if a nova or supernova were to occur within 100 light-years of Earth it would have an impact on the atmosphere. In theory, the extremely high levels of gamma-radiation would impact the planet and destroy the ozone layer. Furthermore, the gamma-radiation would penatrate into the Earth and either kill or cause mutations of a lot of life on the planet. The lack of an ozone layer, even for a brief period, would also allow UV radiation from the sun to significantly increase on the surface of the planet. The ozone layer would be replenished pretty quickly, in a matter of just a couple days, but the damage would have already been done.

All of this is very feasible, but it does require evidence of a supernova within at least 100 light-years of Earth (or 65 light-years in the case of the OPs original paper), and no evidence has been found.
 

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Nope....Much, much longer unless in light wavelength. Matter would probably be ejected at 10,000 mph or so.
That depends on the Type of SNe. Type Ia SNe have ejecta that exceeds 10,000 kps (22,369,363.2+ mph), while all Type Iax SNe have ejecta that is slower than 8,000 kps (< 17,895,492 mph).
 

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No they do not dissipate within 360 million years, and Type Ia SNe do leave visible remnants. We can even measure the blueshift of the Type Ia ejecta. That is one of the ways we can distinguish between a Type Ia and a Type Iax SNe.

With all due respect, you're mistaken. I suggest you read the section entitled "How does SNR [Supernova Remnant] Evolve?" from the following link:

https://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/objects/snrs/snrstext.html#:~:text=This is known as the,10 light years in radius.

They typically don't last much longer than a few hundreds of thousands of years or so before they're absorbed into the interstellar medium.
 
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With all due respect, you're mistaken. I suggest you read the section entitled "How does SNR [Supernova Remnant] Evolve?" from the following link:

https://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/objects/snrs/snrstext.html#:~:text=This is known as the,10 light years in radius.

They typically don't last much longer than a few tens of thousands of years or so before they're absorbed into the interstellar medium.
Then explain the closest supernova remnant to Earth, the Lambda Orionis Ring (a.k.a. the Angelfish Nebula). Which, as I point out in post #7, is approximately one million years old and 1,100 light-years away.
 

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Then explain the closest supernova remnant to Earth, the Lambda Orionis Ring (a.k.a. the Angelfish Nebula). Which, as I point out in post #7, is approximately one million years old and 1,100 light-years away.

A million years is a far cry from 360 million years. I did say "typically". Here's a quote from another NASA link on SNR's.

" The third phase, the Snow-plow or Radiative phase, begins after the shell has cooled down to about 106 K. At this stage, electrons begin recombining with the heavier atoms (like oxygen) so the shell can more efficiently radiate energy. This, in turn, cools the shell faster, making it shrink and become more dense. The more the shell cools, the more atoms can recombine, creating a snowball effect. Because of this snowball effect, the SNR quickly develops a thin shell and radiates most of its energy away as optical light. The velocity now decreases as 1/r3. Outward expansion stops and the SNR starts to collapse under its own gravity. This lasts a few hundreds of thousands of years. After millions of years, the SNR will be absorbed into the interstellar medium due to Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities breaking material away from the SNR's outer shell. "
 
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