More Cosmic Destruction

Larry Klaes of the Tau Zero Foundation writes at the Centauri Dreams blog about how “explosive” the Universe really is and how we perceive the twinkling lights in the sky as a peaceful, beautific scene is severely flawed:

When we look up at the night sky with our eyes alone, everything about it seems calm and even peaceful. Aside from a passing airplane or satellite, only the occasional meteor or twinkling star indicate any natural activities up there. Otherwise, the Universe seems almost immobile and permanent, even when we watch the stars for a long while.

Recent news by the astronomy community shows just how much of an illusion this perception actually is. On May 14, NASA announced the discovery of the youngest local supernova remnant yet known, an object unpoetically known as G1.9+0.3, located near the center of our Milky Way galaxy about 26,000 light years from Earth.

Though most stars exist for ages far longer than human minds can conceive, they are not immortal. Some last for billions of years and eventually more-or-less quietly fade away; this will be the fate of our Sun.

More massive suns do not exist for quite so long, nor do they leave the Universe peacefully. These natural fusion reactors often end up in a titanic explosion called a supernova. Some lose their nuclear fuel, causing their cores to collapse and release huge amounts of energy in the process, leaving a neutron star or black hole in their wake. Other large suns that are part of a binary system where one star is a white dwarf create their death act when too much material from the giant star is pulled onto the white dwarf companion, causing its core to heat enough to create runaway nuclear fusion and tear itself apart.

Artist\'s conception of a supernova

White dwarf stars are not only formed in binary systems, main sequence single stars such as F, G and K types are capable as well. When these stars age, they use up most of their hydrogen fuel. Our sun is a type G, so it is theorized that as it ages and uses up its fuel, it will swell in size as it tries to fuse heavier elements like helium and lithium. The core starts to get more dense as it converts the heavier fuels into heavier yet materials, but the surrounding gas envelop expands. Eventually, the sphere will gulp down Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and eventually Saturn as it enters its red giant phase:

As a red giant, the Sun will have a maximum radius beyond the Earth’s current orbit, 1 AUm), 250 times the present radius of the Sun.[28] However, by the time it is an asymptotic giant branch star, the Sun will have lost roughly 30% of its present mass due to a stellar wind, so the orbits of the planets will move outward. If it were only for this, Earth would probably be spared, but new research suggests that Earth will be swallowed by the Sun due to tidal interactions.

Life of the Sun

Eventually the Sun will “blow” off the outer gas layers in a “semi-nova” (because it’s not massive enough to collapse into a full nova) and a white dwarf star will result.

Of course by then I fully expect the Solar System to be empty of life, either by Exodus, Diaspora, already extinct or transcension by Singulary(s) (or other means).

The Universe is an interesting, and violent place.

Even our own little corner of it has that “take a walk on the wild side” quality!

The Explosive Cosmos

Life cycle of the Sun

4 responses

  1. Hi dad2059…

    Indeed the cosmos is a hostile place and no doubt the earth has been the recipient of massive doses of gamma radiation possibly causing the great extinction of 560 million years ago. Of course we’ve had many asteroid impacts no doubt attributing to both major and minor extinctions.

    In fact if a star within 60-100 light years or less went nova or supernova with its surprise package of gamma and extreme UVC (ultraviolet radiation) on its way would have deadly consequences for life on earth. The sky would be lit up at night as if it were daytime and of course our daytime would have value added in the far blue, to UV to xray range virtually destroying all surface lifeforms within weeks or less along with major impact on ocean algae and zooplankton. It would be hasta la vista babee for “the planet of the ever-warring chimps” for sure…!

    Even our own sun could go hostile on us by emanating monstrous flares towards the earth virtually frying electronics and power generation transformer farms. We’d be set back to a “dog eat dog” “Mad Max” post civilization style of society in a NY minute with such an occurrence and it could happen at anytime. We humanoids and our modern civilization is incredibly fragile. The floods in the Midwest attest to such a fact along with the massive earthquakes in China, but this is all small potatoes compared to my aforementioned scenaria.

    That’s why its best we all live in the moment and cherish each and every moment as if it were the most precious thing we could ever have in our very short lifetimes compared to that of the cosmos.

    Shit happens!

    Carl Nemo **==

  2. Yeah, our biosphere is actually pretty fragile and not too many are aware that a few million miles either way in Earth’s orbit around the Sun can be the difference between freezing into an iceball or a smoking, burning hell like Venus.

    That’s why heavy industry needs to be lifted off the Earth and into LEO.

    Expansion into space is the way to go, I’ll always believe that. We have the power to do this now.

    If we don’t, then I guess we reap what we sow.

  3. Hi dad2059…

    Expansion into space might be a way to go if we had cutting edge, non-chemical technology to do so. So if the MIC isn’t hiding anything from us other than its still primitive SCRAM jet tech, ion electric propulsion etc. then we aren’t going anywhere soon other than “down the drain” as a species…!

    I’ve always winced at our chemical rocket launches almost “gong show” self-embarrased for NASA sending something into orbit with a primitive flame at its rearend. I’m not joking either. I’ve been to Cape Kennedy, now again Canaveral and thought to myself this isn’t a thrill, but a tragedy when it comes to propulsion systems.

    To me its like using the burning of “wood” to achieve orbit… :))

    Even the recent disclosure of NASA pushing the Ares Spacecraft/Constellation Project as opposed to a more efficient and cost effective Direct 2.0 protocol tells me that there’s simply no hope for “the planet of the chimps” making it beyond the grasp of “beltway bandits”… : | (Beltway bandit: a slang term for government contractors and quasi agencies thereof such as NASA)

    I’m heartsick that we have so many highly educated “idiots” wittingly or possibly unwittingly destroying our chances to ever reach even the moon again much less the nearest star systems.

    Carl Nemo **==

  4. I think many of the mainstream scientists and engineers that are employed by NASA and JPL honestly believe that they are using the most advanced tech available to them, for the money allotted anyway. They are just so thoroughly taken in and propagandized by the system that they just can’t see the forest for the trees.

    As for the secret MIC/Pentagon space program, the CIA has done an excellent job of disinformation and confusion to cover that up using the UFO controversy over the past 60/70 years. I’m not saying all UFO sightings are MIC black flights, but a significant amount are.

    There is just too much credible circumstantial evidence pointing to a black MIC/Pentagon/CIA space program to dismiss its existence outright. And not only missing trillions of dollars either.

    Ask yourself why Neil Armstrong, the ‘first’ man on the Moon never gives interviews, personal appearances and remains a recluse after 40 years? And that Buzz Aldrin is the front man who does all of the interviews, book signings and all that crap? Highwayman would say that it’s because they never went to the Moon, but my theory is that Armstrong knew he wasn’t the first man to the Moon, or that he went there earlier.

    Let’s leave Richard Hoagland and his theory of ancient Solar System civilizations out of the mix for a while. Neil Armstrong was part of a program called ‘Dyna-Soar’ :

    Or this:

    It was claimed the program was canceled in 1963. The government lies on a daily basis, especially when it comes to secret projects. Why should we believe that Dyna-Soar was stopped?

    If anything, it was taken to new heights literally if the missing trillions of dollars are any indication.

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