View Full Version : Discussion: Supernova Won't Destroy the World

2003-Dec-06, 02:51 AM
SUMMARY: Just in case you were worried, it appears that a supernova would have to be really really close to the Earth before it could cause massive damage to our environment. Scientists at NASA and Kansas University used data from a recent exploding star to determine that a supernova would have to be only 26 light-years away in order to strip away the ozone layer - an encounter that only happens once every 670 million years.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/supernova_wont_destroy_us)

What do you think about this story? Post your comments below.

2003-Dec-06, 07:56 AM
Do we have any stars within 26 ly of Earth?

2003-Dec-06, 10:31 AM
I believe we do. If memory serves, Alpha Centauri is under ten LY away. I forget the name, but our closest neighbor is between 1.5 and 4 LY away. :unsure:

What would be really helpful is if there was a map of near-by systems and their relative positions to Sol. I hope to become published SF author, and this site contains some incredibly helpful scientific data. The realist in me is incredibly grateful for it.

2003-Dec-06, 10:49 AM
I did a bit of research, and came up with the following, from Hipparcos (http://astro.estec.esa.nl/SA-general/Projects/Hipparcos/msa-tab5.html). Proxima Centauri - 4.22 ly
alpha Centauri (A & B) - 4.40 ly
Barnard's Star - 5.94 ly
Lalande 21185 - 8.31 ly
Sirius - 8.60
Ross 154 - 9.69
These are the seven stars within 10 ly of Sol.

2003-Dec-06, 09:55 PM
None of those are likely to go BANG any time soon though... I know Arcturus is about 30-odd LY away and I know that's a supergiant, but although it's near the end of it's life, I don't know how soon it's likely to go supernova...

2003-Dec-07, 11:36 AM
This is a good reason to colonize other solar systems, that is if we spread out over several lightyears radius from home, the chance of survival even in the event of a supernova would increase.

2003-Dec-07, 12:52 PM
Alpha Canis Major, Sirius, is a binary including a white dwarf in close orbit about a blue giant with SN1A potential. :o