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SUPERNOVA!. What is a supernova? How dangerous are they to life on Earth? How would the universe be different without supernovae?. A hundred years ago, we believed we lived in a quiet, safe universe. Today we know the universe is filled with powerful cosmic radiation our eyes cannot see:

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supernova
SUPERNOVA!

What is a supernova?

How dangerous are they to life on Earth?

How would the universe be different without supernovae?

slide3

Today we know the universe is filled with powerful cosmic radiation our eyes cannot see:

  • Gamma-rays
  • X-Rays
  • Fast-moving atomic
  • particles (“Cosmic Rays”)

Much of which originates from monstrous black holes in the centers of galaxies and from . . .

slide4

Today we know the universe is filled with powerful cosmic radiation our eyes cannot see:

  • Gamma-rays
  • X-Rays
  • Fast-moving atomic
  • particles (“Cosmic Rays”)

. . . neutron stars with powerful magnetic fields and more commonly from . . .

where does the radiation come from
Where does the radiation come from?

X-rays

Gamma-rays

Atomic Particles

life of a butterfly
Life of a Butterfly

Caterpillar

Eggs

Pupa

Butterfly

life of a sun like star
Life of a Sun-like Star

Sun-like Star

Protostars

Star-Forming Nebula

Red Giant

Planetary Nebula

White Dwarf

life of a massive star
Life of a Massive Star

Massive Star

Protostars

Red Supergiant

Star-Forming Nebula

SUPERNOVA

Neutron Star

Black Hole

supernova2

SUPERNOVA!

Click on image to activate movie

is radiation from supernovae and grb sources dangerous to earth
Is radiation from supernovae and GRB sources dangerous to Earth?

How close would they have to be?

radiation on earth

Danger - Radioactive!

Radiation on Earth

Radioactive sources emit gamma-rays.

If we are too close to a radioactive source, like a chunk of uranium, we cannot see the radiation, but it is still harmful to us!

So how far should Earth be from cosmic radiation sources to be safe?

death from exploding stars

Location of Solar System

Death from Exploding Stars?!

.

Artist’s Conception of the Milky Way Galaxy

how close would a supernova have to be to be dangerous

Location of Solar System

How close would a Supernova have to be to be dangerous?

.

Supernova: within 30 light years

Nearest Supernova Candidate: over 250 light years away!

how close is the nearest gamma ray burst grb source

Location of Solar System

How close is the nearest Gamma-Ray Burst (GRB) source ?

Nearest detected GRB source: over a Billion light years away!

.

Our galaxy is about 100,000 light years across

GRB Danger Zone

slide23

Earth’s Atmosphere & Magnetic Field

Protect Earth from most high-energy radiation . . .

But prevent us from detecting it here on Earth

slide24

The high view: getting a better look

XMM-Newton

(X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission)

Suzaku

X-rays

Swift

Gamma-rays

GLAST

life from exploding stars

Oxygen

Life from Exploding Stars!

Scientists have discovered that most of the heavy elements in the universe are dispersed from stars that go supernova.

life from exploding stars4
Life from Exploding Stars!

Without supernovae to disperse elements made in stars, there would be no planets, no life as we know it!

slide30

So aren’t you glad we live in a universe where stars explode?

Which stars?

Orion’s stars likely to go supernova!

30

slide32
What is a supernova?

How dangerous are they to life on Earth?

How would the universe be different without supernovae?