Intergalactic death rays are just so
sexy deadly… BBC Future reports on the NASA team trying to help us avoid gamma ray bursts:
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You do not want to get in the way of a gamma ray burst.
“They’re the most luminous, high energy explosions that have happened since the Big Bang,” says Neil Gehrels, principal investigator at Nasa for the Swift mission. “It’s like a beam of gamma radiation that’s flying through the Universe.”
What would happen if one of these cosmic death rays of high frequency electromagnetic waves hit the Earth?
“For a planet 1000 light years away, it would destroy the ozone layer. If it was just 100 light years away it could blow the atmosphere off,” says Gehrels matter-of-factly.
“The chances of that happening to the Earth is fairly small, about once in a billion years,” he adds.