Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Is there a gama-ray deathstar taking aim at us?

A rotating binary star system is a ticking time bomb, ready to throw out a beam of high-energy gamma rays – and Earth may be right in the line of fire. Known as Wolf-Rayet WR 104 - astronomers say that it is actually a bloated red central star with a binary companion consisting of a small blue star. What makes this pair dangerous is that the red star is highly unstable and may collapse at any moment. When it does, it will pull in the blue companion and emit powerful gamma ray bursts from both poles. When these bursts occur they will fry everything in their path. Making it the universe's largest microwave. What is even more un-nerving is the Solar system is staring right down the north pole of WR 104. Since gamma ray burst travel at the speed of light, the Earth will literally never know what hit it.

What makes this extraordinarily interesting is writer Shaun Saunders nailed this home with his story Last Light which we read on Beam Me Up some months ago. His story is available in his newest book "Navigating the New World"and is also available in the show's story archives

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