By depleting Earth’s ozone layer, gamma-ray burst from black holes could destroy planet

By @vitthernandez on
Gamma Rays
This NASA illustration shows a burst of gamma rays from deep in space that scientists believe may have been the biggest explosion since the Big Bang, astronomers announced May 6. Reuters

Because of the remote possibility that asteroid Bennu, which has 200 times the strength of the Hiroshima bomb, could hit Earth, NASA launched on Monday a study of the asteroid. However, there is another threat to the existence of the planet which comes from gamma-ray bursts produced by black holes.

Gamma-ray bursts, created by black holes, are one of the most powerful energy forms in the universe. One burst is as powerful as combining all the stars within a hundred million light years and focusing it into one laser beam that destroys anything the beam touches.  

Although the gamma-ray bursts are a thousand light years away from Earth, it still has the capability to destroy the whole planet without warning, reports Inquisitr. Earth’s magnetic field and ozone layer protect the planet for space radiation.

But the ozone layer is equipped to protect Earth from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. The gamma-ray burst could overwhelm the ozone layer and leave earthlings exposed to fatal solar radiation. However, if the planet is zapped by a force more energetic, chance of anything surviving on Earth is nil.

A viral video posted by a German YouTube channel, with more than 1.6 million views in three days, explains more how the two different ways gamma-ray bursts are created from some of the most violent deaths in the universe, reports Daily Mail.

The long bursts last about one minute, likely produced by supernova, the result of the collapse of a massive star’s core that becomes a black hole. The short bursts, which last only one second, are the result of the binary merge of two neutron stars.

The video elaborates, “Over millions of years, their orbits decay by emitting gravitational waves. Once they are close enough to touch, they crash and splash into each other, forming a black hole.”

However, similar to Bennu’s threat, the video admits the chance of a gamma-ray burst hitting Earth would be once every million years. Plus there is a need for the ray to be pointed in the right general direction to hit and obliterate the planet.

VIDEO: Death from Space – Gamma-Ray Bursts Explained

Source: Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell

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