Sunday, February 01, 2009

Those exploding stars

Yesterday, I mentioned the super nova of stars that could affect life on Earth. I was referring to some specific examples that have very low probabilities of affecting our solar system.

In the constellation of Sagittarius, is a binary-star system known as Wolf-Rayet 104. When these stars eventually go nova there’s a small – very small – chance that a gamma-ray burst will strike our planet. On the Bad Astronomy website, this subject and its probability, is explained. Even with the evidence in 2009, that the angle of inclination of WR104 is higher than previously believed, the chance of being hit by a radiation burst, within the next few hundred thousand years, is significantly higher than the chance of an apocalypse on December 21st, 2012.

Another star of interest is IK Pegasi out in the constellation Pegasus. Its only 150 light years away. Maybe not close enough to kill us but close enough to make us jump when it does goes off.

Yet, even with these low probabilities, super nova events should not be underestimated. Here is an interesting theory involving species extinctions during the Pliocene era related to a passing interstellar cloud of exploding stars. And no matter what, our own star, the Sun, will eventually burn out turning Earth into a toasted marshmellow. If you want to see a really cool size comparison of our Sun to other stars go to this video. VY Canis Majoris in the largest known star of our galaxy. You'll see.

And, to a certain person that asked, I'm sorry but I do not believe in Astrology or the interpretation of Zodiac signs, though you are correct, I would be Sagittarius. In fact, I believe that Zodiac signs and Astrology, whether Western or Eastern, are ultimately a subtle form of prejudice. They attribute a preconceived idea of behavior and character to a person based upon the year or time of birth during the year. This is no different from racism that attributes specific behaviors to people based on either the color of their skin or on their country of birth. And that’s just nonsense - plain and simple.

Incidentally, the magnetic pole of the Sun flips every 11 years and already flipped in 2007.

- Just a peasant

Photo from Wikipedia entry on Super nova