March 26, 2024 at 3:23 pm

An Explosion Between Two Neutron Stars 216 Trillion Miles Away Could Obliterate Us All, Scientists Claim

by Trisha Leigh

NeutronStarCollisonEndOfLifeOnEarth An Explosion Between Two Neutron Stars 216 Trillion Miles Away Could Obliterate Us All, Scientists Claim

It seems that there is no lack of options for obliterating life on Earth.

If we don’t do it ourselves with war or climate change, then some random explosion deep in space will eventually do it for us.

The scientists who authors this recent paper say that two colliding neutron stars, even dozens of light years away, could wipe out life on Earth.

This is called a kilanova, and it’s the result of a collision of two neutron stars within a binary system. It can also occur when a black hole merges with a neutron star.

Either way, it puts out electromagnetic radiation in the form of gamma-ray bursts.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/University of Warwick

As of now, we aren’t away of any neutron star pairs that are close to doing this – at least not near enough to us to be a problem.

If there are other planets out there hosting intelligent life, though, there could be a pair out there waiting to threaten their existence, though.

For their paper, the scientists used kilonova GW170817 to determine the minimum distance at which an event could occur without destroying Earth.

What they found is that anything closer than 16 light-years away would do us in immediately, and explosions up to 36 light-years away could do some serious (perhaps critical) damage.

Lead author Haille Perkins explains more.

“The specific distance of safety and component that is most dangerous is uncertain as many of the effects depend on properties like viewing angle to the event, the energy of the blast, the mass of material ejected, and more. With the combination of parameters we select, it seems that the cosmic rays will be the most threatening.”

Source: Noir Lab

Right now, there are no known binary neutron stars within 36 light years of Earth, but more observations are happening all of the time.

The truth is out there.

Sometimes it can take awhile to find it, is all.

If you thought that was interesting, you might like to read a story that reveals Earth’s priciest precious metal isn’t gold or platinum and costs over $10,000 an ounce!