WR 104 Star: Earth May be Right In The Line of Fire

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.

binary Pinwheel system Wolf-Rayet 104
( 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