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 Post subject: Quick Extinction Event Question
PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:00 am 
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If we experienced a gamma ray burst, would we know what hit us? Would the people on the opposite side of the Earth fare any better than those directly exposed? Just wondering if it's anything worth worrying about.


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 Post subject: Re: Quick Extinction Event Question
PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:31 am 
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An intriguing question and one I suspect is answered by, "it depends." As in it depends on how close the source is, whence it comes, etc. In most scenarios, it looks like the atmosphere would be affected and possibly to the point of incurring a mass extinction event. Maybe not over a week, but over a few years or decades since the breakdown of the atmosphere would have some immediate and more long-term consequences.

A good source for some further thoughts is the Astrobiology paper from October 2015. And here's a NASA article discussing that Astrobiology paper.

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 Post subject: Re: Quick Extinction Event Question
PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:00 pm 
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There have been some tentative suggestions at some paleontological meetings - not even hypotheses, but the sort of thing people come up with just before they've drunk enough to start doing their imitations of Paleozoic invertebrates - that when there's an extinction event the fauna and flora that repopulate come from polar regions. the idea is that the chances are polar regions wouldn't "see" an astronomical source, like a supernova or gamma ray burster or solar megaflare, about half the time - because it would be in the other hemisphere's sky. I don't know that anybody ever seriously worked on the idea.


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 Post subject: Re: Quick Extinction Event Question
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:11 am 
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I was thinking about whether our brains would be scrambled from the radiation, causing us to stumble around for a bit before keeling over, never comprehending what's going on. But if the primary effect was to heat up the atmosphere and cause oceans to boil, maybe we would figure it out before our slow horrible deaths. Well, those with knowledge of astronomy would figure it out at least.

Understood about the effect of proximity.


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 Post subject: Re: Quick Extinction Event Question
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:48 am 
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I was thinking about whether our brains would be scrambled from the radiation...


This wouldn't lead to extinction. With several recent elections and the popularity of reality TV shows as evidence, one can live & reproduce just fine with a scrambled brain.


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 Post subject: Re: Quick Extinction Event Question
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:54 pm 
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:lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Quick Extinction Event Question
PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:13 pm 
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https://astronomynow.com/2017/07/27/gamma-ray-burst-captured-in-unprecedented-detail/


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