Sunday , April 18 2021

God of Chaos gamma ray blast has the power to remove the Earth's ozone layer, warn scientists



A MONSTER supernova in our galaxy could be about to explode in an extremely powerful gamma-ray burst – strong enough to pull ozone out of Earth's atmosphere.

The time bomb is at the heart of a star system 8,000 light-years away in the Milky Way, called Apep, in honor of the Egyptian god of chaos.

Image of Apep captured by the VLT telescope of the European Southern Observatory in Chile

Professor Peter Tuthill / ESO

Image of Apep captured by the VLT telescope of the European Southern Observatory in Chile

Researchers at the University of Sydney say the gigantic star is in perfect condition to create a burst of gamma rays – the most extreme events in the universe after the Big Bang.

An international team of astronomers using gigantic telescopes sighted the unique star system under the tail of the constellation Scorpio.

The Doctor. Joe Callingham, who led the study, said: "We knew immediately that we had found something exceptional: radiance across the spectrum, from radio to infrared, was out of standard.

"When we saw the amazing feather of dust wrapped around these incandescent stars, we decided to name it" Apep "- the monstrous divine serpent and mortal enemy of the Sun God Ra, from Egyptian mythology."

A supernova remnant after its colossal detonation

AFP

A supernova remnant after its colossal detonation

The remnant of the Cassiopeia supernova, where separate internal and external shock waves are visible

Reuters

The remnant of the Cassiopeia supernova, where separate internal and external shock waves are visible

Dr. Benjamin Pope, who co-authored the Apep study, said: "What we find in the Apep system is a supernova precursor that seems to be spinning very fast, so fast that it may be close to breaking.

"Normal supernovae are already extreme events, but adding spin to the mix can actually throw gasoline into the fire."

Fortunately, Apep does not seem to be facing Earth.

If it were, a gamma-ray bang exploded from an approaching supernova could pluck ozone from Earth's atmosphere, dramatically increasing the planet's exposure to the sun's dangerous ultraviolet light.

Incredible 3D video viewing of the Hubble Space Telescope's exploding supernova


Without ozone, UV radiation would quickly cause catastrophe by damaging the DNA of all animal and plant life on Earth.

Scientists are not sure that Apep will result in a gamma-ray burst because its future remains uncertain, but will be the first such explosion in the Milky Way if it does.

Professor Tuthill, who led the research group at the University of Sydney, said: "In the meantime, it is giving astronomers a privileged position in the beautiful and dangerous physics we have not seen before in our galaxy."


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