Supernova and its Effect on Earth



Star explosions are called supernova. Supernova are thought to eject many elements at enormous speed, they also emit high energy e.g. gamma radiations. Such emissions can be harmful as they may cause increase in UV radiation and even may cause extinction. Recent news draw our attention on Supernova.

Shawn Bishop a physicist has reported in preliminary findings that a Debris containing iron from a star that exploded 2.2 million years ago was consumed by bacteria on earth. This was also reported in nature science journal. In 2004, isotope iron-60, which does not form on Earth, was discovered in a piece of sea floor from the Pacific Ocean. Bishop and his colleagues acquired parts of a sediment core(dating 1.7 to 3.3 MN years ago). They treated them with a chemical technique that extracts iron-60. Then they ran the samples through a mass spectrometer to verify the presence of iron-60.

Scientists calculated that it had arrived from some supernova in the distant past. This analysis showed minuscule levels of iron-60 … these could be in fossilized remains of these bacteria that existed millions of years ago. The particular star which might have exploded at this time is not yet confirmed, however, it is suspected that it might be Scorpius–Centaurus stellar association at a distance of about 424 light years from the Sun.

Getting clarity on such an early earth type event is definitely a milestone in search of life. Our best wishes to the entire team working on this initiative and we are hopeful that they get success in future in confirming these findings and also in future research.

Another rather scary news observed was about a Supernova. WR 104 (Wolf-Rayet star), some 8,000 light years away is likely to undergo a core-collapse supernova. There was probability that dangerous gamma ray radiation may reach the Earth.  WR104 was discovered in 1998. So far as we are alive and reading the post, the harmful gamma radiation has not affected us. If we go deeper to identify to what extent we are safe from Supernova then we will realize that the key property to turn the supernova from harmless (not affecting the Earth) to ferocious (affecting the Earth) is “spin”. And in case of WR 104, there appears to be insufficient understanding and knowledge that can completely link its impact on the Earth.

We are unsure on how do we classify Supernova?

Good – because it might have brought in a metal that was consumed on Early Earth (and probably might have turned out to be a crucial element for growth)


Bad – because it is also likely to bring in the harmful radiation that can extinct us.

We may call it destiny if we want… just one activity in cosmos – it can create us as well as destroy us. Has human race understood that we are precious and at the same time we are so tiny?

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