Screw the whimper – apparently the world may end in a bang…a Death Star bang! According to the Nature News headline, “‘Death Star’ found pointing at Earth.” Is it aliens? Satan? Darth Vader?
No, it’s two spinning stars a mere 8,000 light years away. But they’re set to explode at any moment!!! Well, at any moment in the next few hundred thousand years. And when they do, they may send out a killing burst of gamma rays RIGHT AT EARTH!!! Well, unless the energy dissipates harmlessly in a supernova. Shhhh. It’s doom, Doom, DOOOOOOOM!
Nature News definitely didn’t stint on the doomsday scenario:
A gamma-ray beam might not kill us all immediately. First there would be a bright flash, possibly blinding people, says Melott, then after a few hours the effects would begin in earnest.
The gamma rays would break up molecules in the atmosphere, producing particular oxides of nitrogen that would start to eat up the ozone layer after a few hours, says Melott. Within a few days a quarter of the ozone layer would be destroyed, he suggests.
The ozone destruction would allow through enough ultraviolet light to cause severe radiation damage to plants and people. The nitrogen oxides would also cause acid rain that could kill off plants and algae.
Just like the Ewoks!