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Another Expert Agrees With Dark Comet Theory

February 21, 2013 – 11:31 am | No Comment

Astronomer David Asher (from Armagh University) has agreed with Bill Napier and Janaki Wickramasinghe (Cardiff University) that “dark comets” are real and dangerous.
The following quotes are from a paper by Napier and Asher published in Astronomy & Geophysics.

We know that about one bright comet (of absolute magnitude as bright as 7, comparable to Halley’s Comet) arrives in the visibility zone (perihelion q<5AU, say) each year from the Oort cloud. It seems to be securely established that ~1–2% of these are captured into Halleytype (HT) orbits. The dynamical lifetime of a body in such an orbit can be estimated, from which the expected number of HT comets is perhaps ~3000. The actual number of active HT comets is ~25. This discrepancy of at least two powers of 10 in the expected impact rate from comets as deduced from this theoretical argument on the one hand, and observations on the other, is …

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Home » Cosmic Rays, Space Nasties

WR 104 – Potential Space Nasty

Submitted by on February 20, 2010 – 2:36 pmOne Comment

I really like “bad astronomy” articles, but even more so when they admit they are scared. In this instance it is a binary star known as Wr 104. At a distance of 5000-8000 light years a supernova is not expected to harm us. But a Gamma Ray Burst might, especially if it is aimed straight at us!

GRBs are a special type of supernova. When a very massive star explodes, the inner core collapses, forming a black hole, while the outer layers explode outwards. Due to a complex and fierce collusion of forces in the core, two beams of raw fury can erupt out of the star, mind-numbing in their power. Composed mostly of high-energy gamma rays, they can carry more energy in them than the Sun will put out in its entire lifetime. They are so energetic we can see them clear across the Universe, and having one too close would be bad.

…Worse, the flood of subatomic particles from such a GRB may in fact be more dangerous. These cosmic rays hit the air and create fast particles called muons, which would rain down over the Earth. How bad is that? Actually, it’s pretty uncertain; the number of variables involved is large, and the modeling of this is notoriously difficult. It’s not even clear that the cosmic rays from a GRB at this distance would even reach us, and if they did, what exactly would happen. The worst-case scenario is pretty bad — large scale mass extinctions…

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