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February 19, 2005

Halo Ring Triggered

This magnetar story is incredible.

A huge explosion halfway across the galaxy packed so much power it briefly altered Earth's upper atmosphere in December, astronomers said Friday.

No known eruption beyond our solar system has ever appeared as bright upon arrival.

But you could not have seen it, unless you can top the X-ray vision of Superman: In gamma rays, the event equaled the brightness of the full Moon's reflected visible light.

OK what does this mean. It means a couple things. If there were a neutron star that flashed like this somewhere in this galaxy, we'd be dead. No only that, since gamma rays and light and all that fun stuff travels at the same time, there would be no warning. Warning would be impossible. One side of the planet would get fried immediately, and depending on how long the flare was so would the other. Then if all of our best scientists and equipment were to survive, it would take them two months to figure out what happened.


Posted by mbowen at February 19, 2005 03:16 PM

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