JUN 08, 2017 07:08 AM PDT

Here's What it Would Take for a Supernova to Wipe Out Life On Earth


A supernova is the violent and gigantic explosion of a star as it dies during the final stages in stellar evolution, and for the most part, we don't see them that often. Most supernovae appear far away in distant galaxies, several light years away, and perhaps that's a good thing. On the other hand, supernovae also occur right here in the Milky Way ever 50 years or so.

One supernova can emit as much energy in an instant as our Sun emits over a spans of time 1-million years long. Since these explosions are so bright and violent, have you ever stopped to think about how close one would need to be to wipe out all life on Earth?

The answer? About 50 light years or so. Put another way, our safe bubble expands out about 27 times the size of our Solar System. If a supernova went off any closer, it would be so bright that it would fry us.

There are a number of stellar neighbors within this distance, but they're not expected to go supernova anytime soon. On the other hand, we may be in more danger than ever before as we pass through the 'Local Bubble' in space, which may have more supernovae remnants now than it ever did.

While the chances of a supernova wiping Earth's life out are slim, it's always possible. Earth has been affected by distant supernovae before, but not to the extent of wiping out all life as we know it. Nevertheless, some of the iron from the core of the star that exploded over a million years ago did bombarded our planet and leave us with remnants.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
SEP 19, 2018
Plants & Animals
SEP 19, 2018
Here's How to Tell if Your Dog Actually Likes You
Good dog owners love their pet unconditionally, but how can you be sure that your dog loves you back? For some, the answer is obvious; but for those curiou...
SEP 20, 2018
Videos
SEP 20, 2018
A Plant 'Nervous System' is Found
Learn more about how plants communicate....
SEP 24, 2018
Videos
SEP 24, 2018
Restaurants use psychology to make you spend more money
Have you ever gone out to a restaurant and ended up ordering way more than you expected to, only to get the bill at the end of dinner and be totally blinds...
SEP 26, 2018
Space & Astronomy
SEP 26, 2018
Do the TRAPPIST-1 Exoplanets Have What it Takes to Support Life?
Among all the extrasolar systems astronomers have discovered to date, the TRAPPIST-1 system is unquestionably one of the most intriguing. Orbiting the host...
OCT 03, 2018
Videos
OCT 03, 2018
The Use of Cannabis to Treat Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can lead to depression, addiction to opioids, anxiety, other side effects, and more. The first video from Howcast talks about clinical tr...
OCT 09, 2018
Videos
OCT 09, 2018
Take-out doesn't have to be this way
I love take-out just as much as the next person, but there's something that gets to me every time I order in: the amount of single-use waste that comes...
Loading Comments...