WR 104 is a Wolf-Rayet star located 8000 light years from Earth. It is a binary star with a class OB companion. One of the most energetic explosive events known is a supernova. These occur at the end of a star’s lifetime, when its nuclear fuel is exhausted and it is no longer supported by the release of nuclear energy. If the star is particularly massive, then its core will collapse and in so doing will release a huge amount of energy. This will cause a blast wave that ejects the star’s envelope into interstellar space.
( Image Credit: University of Sydney)
WR 104’s supernova going to produce jets from their rotational poles. It is possible that WR 104 may even produce a Gamma ray burst, though it is not possible to predict with certainty at this time. Earth may be right in the line of fire. According to this report:
Though the risk may be remote, there is evidence that gamma ray bursts have swept over the planet at various points in Earth’s history with a devastating effect on life. A 2005 study showed that a gamma-ray burst originating within 6,500 light years of Earth could be enough to strip away the ozone layer and cause a mass extinction. Researchers led by Adrian Melott at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, U.S., suggest that such an event may have been responsible for a mass extinction 443 million years ago, in the late Ordovician period, which wiped out 60 per cent of life and cooled the planet
5 thoughts on “WR 104 Star: Earth May be Right In The Line of Fire”
A 2005 study showed that a gamma-ray burst originating within 6,500 light years of Earth could be enough to strip away the ozone layer and cause a mass extinction.The pair of stars are at a distance of 8,000 light-years from Earth.
Why is the worry?
Or is there something that I missed?
Lets not forget that the light we are analyzing is thousands of years old! WR 104 could already have gone supernova and the gamma rays could be on its way already. The good news are that according to newer observations we dont look towards the star, but with an angle of 30-40 degrees… But the whole idea is terrifying nevertheless..
The extinction in such case maybe would not destroy totally the ozone layer, but 60-70 percent of it..Thats what i read in the internet , maybe wrong :)
The stars themselves are 8,000 light years from earth, gamma-ray bursts tend to travel through space at high speeds that are generated from the stars poles so even though the stars are 8000 light years away, the gamma-ray bursts can travel further.
This information falls into the “I rather not know about it since there is nothing that can be done” realm of rather useless information provided by scientists. Not much can be done. Also the same rather useless reports about comets or asteroids that may come close to our planet. Hollywood wants to make it like we can do something about it in their stories. But, so far, no solution.