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©2007 by Richard Nolle

WOW!MAY 14, 2007 - Cosmic Log: Supernova Nightmares is a good backgrounder on the practical aspects of nearby exploding stars. Not the sort of thing you might want to read just before bedtime, but still worthy of consideration in light of last week's news regarding a super-bright supernova. That one was many millions of light-years away, and hence harmless for us terrestrial types. But Eta Carinae is only 7,500 light-years from our home planet, and if it erupted in similar fashion, that could be a different story. Maybe. It depends on whether the star's poles are pointed at us; and fortunately, it appears that they're not. Good thing. Our planet would get such a gamma-ray blast from a nearby supernova aimed right at us - the sort of thing that would cause mass extinctions. Not that we need any help in that regard. Funny how the cosmos seems so far away to everyone but the astrologers, until things like this come up . . .

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