Extinction by Gamma-Ray Burst | Space Time

Published on January 11, 2018

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Previous Episode:
The Origin of Our First Interstellar Visitor

Gamma-ray bursts are much less common than regular supernovae, and in fact regular supernovae can do just as much damage as a GRB. However, for a supernova to produce the same effects it needs to be much closer – within 20 to 30 light years. There are definitely no stars in that range that could explode any time soon. However the Sun isn’t stationary. It orbits the Milky Way, and its galactic neighbors come and go. Maybe in a few 250-million-year orbits we stellar timebomb will wander into our vicinity. However it’s really the GRBs that are most likely to hit us first, and hit us more often. We should certainly expect one in the next half-to-one-billion years, even if it’s not WR104.

Hosted by Matt O’Dowd
Written by Matt O’Dowd
Produced by Rusty Ward
Graphics by Kurt Ross
Assistant Editing and Sound Design by Mike Petrow and Meah Denee Barrington
Made by Kornhaber Brown (www.kornhaberbrown.com)

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