Real Death Star Could Strike Earth

Stalker2

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Real Death Star Could Strike Earth

Charles Q. Choi
Special to SPACE.com
SPACE.com Mon Mar 10, 10:15 AM ET


A beautiful pinwheel in space might one day blast Earth with death rays, scientists now report.

Unlike the moon-sized Death Star from Star Wars, which has to get close to a planet to blast it, this blazing spiral has the potential to burn worlds from thousands of light-years away.

"I used to appreciate this spiral just for its beautiful form, but now I can't help a twinge of feeling that it is uncannily like looking down a rifle barrel," said researcher Peter Tuthill, an astronomer at the University of Sydney.

The fiery pinwheel in space in question has at its heart a pair of hot, luminous stars locked in orbit with each other. As they circle one another, plumes of streaming gas driven from the surfaces of the stars collide in the intervening space, eventually becoming entangled and twisted into a whirling spiral by the orbits of the stars.

Short fuse

The pinwheel, named WR 104, was discovered eight years ago in the constellation Sagittarius. It rotates in a circle "every eight months, keeping precise time like a jewel in a cosmic clock," Tuthill said.

Both the massive stars in WR 104 will one day explode as supernovae. However, one of the pair is a highly unstable star known as a Wolf-Rayet, the last known stable phase in the life of these massive stars right before a supernova.

"Wolf-Rayet stars are regarded by astronomers as ticking bombs," Tuthill explained. The 'fuse' for this star "is now very short — to an astronomer — and it may explode any time within the next few hundred thousand years."

LINK: http://news.yahoo.com/s/space/20080310/sc_space/realdeathstarcouldstrikeearth
 

Begbie

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Yeah, wait...what?
 

jagsfans

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Could this be what creates the "Life after People" scenerio?
 

LiddyRules

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Galactus?
 

Hudson

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[QUOTE]"Wolf-Rayet stars are regarded by astronomers as ticking bombs," Tuthill explained. The 'fuse' for this star "is now very short — to an astronomer — and it may explode any time within the next few hundred thousand years."
[/QUOTE]
I think I'll worry about it when I am 75..
 

dolemyte

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i liked this when it was an episode of sliders..

LOL... Sliders reference... Loved that show... The episode i think you are referring is called Pulsar 1 and 2...when Kari Wuher joined the show and it started to suck...

God, i had too much free time when i graduated college
 

LiddyRules

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LOL... Sliders reference... Loved that show... The episode i think you are referring is called Pulsar 1 and 2...when Kari Wuher joined the show and it started to suck...

God, i had too much free time when i graduated college
I can't believe they eliminated the Professor for her. Sabrina Lloyd was hotter too.
 

Budyzir

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And just how many light years is Sagittarius from earth?
 

Budyzir

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