What would happen if the Earth got hit by a gamma-ray burst?
With the gamma-rays beamed directly at Earth, the radiation would destroy a significant portion of our atmosphere, specifically the ozone layer. The photons streaming from the burst would cause chemical reactions leading to photochemical smog. This would further deplete our protection from cosmic rays.
Has a gamma-ray burst ever hit the Earth?
The blast of radiation, known as gamma-rays, came in two bursts that hit Earth with more than 100 billion times the energy in visible light. After decades of work, scientists have seen the most powerful ever blast from a gamma-ray burst, or GRB. Gamma-ray bursts were first spotted during the Cold War.
What’s the most powerful thing in the universe?
That’s about the same amount of energy in 10 trillion trillion billion megaton bombs! These explosions generate beams of high-energy radiation, called gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), which are considered by astronomers to be the most powerful thing in the universe.
Can we survive gamma-ray burst?
We have seen and survived plenty of others. Gamma ray bursts are extremely powerful, but the energy is concentrated in a narrow beam, making hitting the Earth extremely unlikely. If one hits the Earth, it would depend on the distance. Within 6000 light years it starts to have effects.
Can humans survive gamma-ray bursts?
What if a quasar hit the Sun?
Quasars throw off jets of particles that are so bright that they outshine all the stars in their galaxies. So our Sun would essentially turn into a candle in the middle of a very bright spotlight. The illumination from a quasar, along with all the radiation it throws off, would mess with Earth’s atmosphere.
Could a gamma ray burst have caused the Earth’s extinction?
Evidence suggests that this occurred during an ice age and a gamma ray burst is one of several possible mechanisms that may have triggered this extinction event. Artist’s impression of a gamma ray burst hitting the Earth.
How rare are gamma ray bursts in the Milky Way galaxy?
Gamma-ray bursts in our Milky Way galaxy are indeed rare, but the scientists estimate that at least one nearby likely hit the Earth in the past billion years. Life on Earth is thought to have appeared at least 3.5 billion years ago.
Did a gamma-ray burst kill the Ordovician?
Thomas says that a gamma-ray burst may have caused the Ordovician extinction 450 million years ago, killing 60 percent of all marine invertebrates. Life was largely confined to the sea, although there is evidence of primitive land plants during this period.
Did a massive star explosion trigger the mass extinction event?
Image above: Scientists say that a ten-second burst of gamma rays from a massive star explosion within 6,000 light years from Earth could have triggered a mass extinction hundreds of millions of years ago. In this artist’s conception we see the gamma rays hitting the Earth’s atmosphere.