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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.
http://star.arm.ac.uk/preprints/2009/539.pdf

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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Could Eta Carinae Harm Us?

August 2, 2012 – 10:04 pm | 4 Comments
Could Eta Carinae Harm Us?

I’ve just been reading Parallel Worlds by Michio Kaku. He is very skilled at making complex topics easy to follow. And that helps me to generate ideas rather than just trying to keep up. This is from page 126:
Gamma Ray Bursters… releasing within seconds the entire energy output of our Sun over its entire life history (about 10 billion years).
That amount of energy is hard to imagine. The current thinking is that a GRB is the result of a hypernova – a super supernova. And all the energy would be released in two narrow directions which are known as a jets. The closest potential hypernova that we know of is Eta Carinae.

This from Wikipedia:
It is possible that the Eta Carinae hypernova or supernova, when it occurs, could affect Earth, about 7,500 light years away. It is unlikely, however, to affect terrestrial lifeforms directly, as they will be protected from gamma …

Space News Items in Brief

January 4, 2011 – 12:47 pm | No Comment
Space News Items in Brief

Gamma Rays have been detected from a nova (not to be confused with a supernova) for the first time, something that has surprised scientists. I’m guessing that unlike supernovae, we are unable to tell if a nova event is likely to occur any time soon from a nearby star. This is the latest in a string of news reports where space is acting differently to what scientists previously believed – so keep that in mind when scientists insist we are safe from space nasties…
Radioactive elements decay at a constant rate, is something that is taught in high school. Wrong. When you are observing the decay year by year, it is pretty much constant. However it has just been discovered that the intra-year decay rate fluctuates due to how close we are to the Sun, and when there are solar flares.

Arthur C Clarke: Beware of Gamma Ray Bursts

May 31, 2008 – 10:00 am | No Comment
Arthur C Clarke: Beware of Gamma Ray Bursts

In June 2000, shortly after being knighted, Arthur C Clarke said:
“Some of the greatest threats to mankind’s future, are global warming, pollution, gamma ray bursts and the threat of an asteroid hitting the earth.
…Gamma ray bursts are sudden outbursts of energy – several times more powerful than the sun – which may suddenly occur,” he elucidated.
“If it happens during any of our lifetimes, we have all had it. I think that such a phenomenon may have affected evolution and if it happens again, there is nothing we can do about it.”

Great Example of a Gamma Ray Burst’s power

May 7, 2008 – 9:54 am | No Comment
Great Example of a Gamma Ray Burst’s power

7.5 billion years ago, 7.5 billion light years from us, a star exploded.
The light from this gamma ray burst took until last month to be reach Earth. For a couple of hours this explosion was visible to the naked eye, making it the most distant thing a human has ever seen unaided.
Consider the power behind such a burst, to be visible from the other end of the universe. And wonder how much it could harm you if it occured much closer to home.
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Wolf-Rayet star aimed right at us!

March 10, 2008 – 9:50 am | No Comment
Wolf-Rayet star aimed right at us!

The spinning wheel is generated by two massive stars, 8000 light years away, circling each other every eight months. Gigantic clouds of gas streaming off the stars are being stretched by the stellar dance into a spiral, much as water spirals from a rotating garden sprinkler.
Eight years ago Dr Tuthill’s team, using Hawaii’s huge Keck telescope, discovered that one of the objects is a highly unstable beast called a Wolf-Rayet star. They inevitably die in huge explosions that may sometimes produce deadly gamma ray bursts.
Now Dr Tuthill’s team has made another discovery. Overlapping 11 time-lapse images of the 30 billion-kilometre-long gas spiral, they have concluded that Earth is almost directly above one pole of the doomed star, dubbed WR 104. When Wolf-Rayet stars explode, much of their energy is blasted from the poles.
“From our vantage point,” said Dr Tuthill, “we are looking right down the gun barrel. That’s what’s got …

Gamma Ray Burst from Nowhere!

January 15, 2008 – 1:31 pm | No Comment
Gamma Ray Burst from Nowhere!

The current theory holds that that gamma ray bursts like GRB 070125 are given off by super-jumbo-sized stars that run out of fuel and violently collapse to form black holes, explains Neil Gehrels, principal investigator of NASA’s Swift telescope.
Such huge stars can only be created in very gas and dust-rich parts of galaxies where lots of other stars are also being born. So it makes no sense to find such a star living and dying in the empty space between galaxies.
Yet another space nasty to worry about. If it doesn’t come from a star we can see, then the possibility exists that we can be zapped from one that is either a star we cannot see, or not a star at all. More at Discovery.com

Beware – gam­ma-ray bursts could fry us!

October 26, 2007 – 9:27 am | No Comment
Beware – gam­ma-ray bursts could fry us!

In the new re­search, Doug­las Galante and Jor­ge Er­nes­to Hor­vath of the Uni­ver­si­ty of São Pa­o­lo, Bra­zil, ar­gued that gam­ma-ray bursts could shine their le­thal ef­fects across a whole gal­axy, and dam­age life over great­er dis­tances still. The study is to ap­pear in a forth­com­ing is­sue of the In­ter­na­tion­al Jour­nal of As­tro­bi­ol­o­gy.
The bursts could cause “global en­vi­ron­men­tal changes and bio­spheric dam­age” even at dis­tances five times the Milky Way’s width, they wrote.
Gamma-ray bursts are thought to emerge main­ly from the poles of a col­laps­ing star. This cre­ates two, op­po­site­ly-shin­ing beams of ra­di­a­tion shaped like nar­row cones. Plan­ets not ly­ing in these cones would be com­par­a­tive­ly safe; the chief wor­ry is for those that do.
Galante and Hor­vath iden­ti­fied three as­pects of gam­ma-ray bursts as par­t­i­cu­lar­ly deadly.
The first is a flash of gam­ma rays, the high­est-en­er­gy form of light. The flash can im­pe­r­il even the most ra­di­a­tion-resistant or­gan­isms known, the bac­te­ri­um …