Can an Extreme Gamma rays Explosion Destroy Life on Earth?

Astronomy Science ~ A blast of gamma rays (the most powerful type of explosion known in the Universe) may have triggered mass extinctions o...

Astronomy Science ~ A blast of gamma rays (the most powerful type of explosion known in the Universe) may have triggered mass extinctions on Earth in the last few billion years, the researchers said. The deadly blast could help explain the so-called Fermi Paradox, which is contrary to the very large possibility of alien life in the universe but to date there is no evidence of their existence, say the scientists added.

Very short gamma-ray bursts, which is an intense blast of high frequency electromagnetic radiation. These explosions release energy equivalent solar energy released during the whole 10 billion year. The scientists think that gamma ray bursts may be caused by the explosion of a giant star known as hypernovas, or collisions between pairs of dead star called a neutron star.

If the gamma ray bursts exploded in the Milky Way, it can wreak havoc remarkable if it leads directly to earth, although located thousands of light years. Though gamma rays are not good enough to penetrate the Earth's atmosphere to burn the land, the chemicals they will damage the atmosphere, thinning the ozone layer that protects the planet from harmful ultraviolet rays that can trigger mass extinctions.

There is also the possibility that the explosion could spew gamma rays cosmic rays, which are high-energy particles that can create an experience similar to a nuclear explosion for them at the side of the Earth facing the explosion, causing radiation sickness. To see how great the threat of gamma ray bursts may have an impact to Earth, researchers investigated how likely such an explosion could result in damage to the Earth in the past.

Gamma ray bursts are traditionally divided into two groups - short and long - depending on the blast, whether lasts less than 2 seconds or more. Stringed long blast gamma associated with the death of massive stars, while the short gamma-ray burst is most likely caused by the merger of neutron stars.

Most long gamma ray bursts occur in galaxies very different from the Milky Way - poor dwarf galaxies elements heavier than hydrogen and helium. Each long gamma-ray bursts in the Milky Way are likely to be limited in a poor region of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium, the researchers said.

The scientists discovered the possibility that long gamma-ray bursts could trigger mass extinctions on Earth about 50 percent at 500 million years ago, 60 percent of the 1 billion a year, and more than 90 percent in 5 billion years. In comparison, the solar system about 4.6 billion years old.

Short gamma-ray bursts occur about five times more often than the long burst. However, due to weak short bursts, the researchers found they have an effect that is not too threatening life on Earth. They also calculated that gamma-ray bursts from galaxies outside may not pose a threat to Earth.

The scientists also examined the dangers of gamma ray bursts could have implications for life elsewhere in the Milky Way. The population is more dense star near the center of the galaxy, which means if there is a planet that has life in the region face a greater chance of gamma ray bursts. World in the region, which is about 6,500 light years around the core of the Milky Way, where 25 percent of the stars in the galaxy are located, has a 95 percent chance to face the deadly gamma ray burst that exploded in the last few billion years. The researchers say that life as it is known on Earth could survive the blast of gamma rays if it is on the outskirts of the Milky Way, which is more than 32,600 light years from the galactic center.

The study is published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

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AstroNation: Can an Extreme Gamma rays Explosion Destroy Life on Earth?
Can an Extreme Gamma rays Explosion Destroy Life on Earth?
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