Science 10 Astronomy Wonder Project

My question is: What would the effects be on earth if a nearby star went supernova? 

According to the articles I read it would depend on how far away the supernova occurs.  So far many have been detected but they have all been to far away to harm the earth.

A star would need to be closer to earth than about 50 to 100 light years distance for it to have an effect on us. It would not destroy the earth, but could (potentially) heat the side of the earth being hit by the radiation to temperatures high enough to destroy life, boil away water and, if strong enough, it could potentially destabilize earth’s orbit.

There is another star that is 150 light years away from the Earth called IK Pegasi B and it has a chance of going supernova anytime in the next 10 million years.

If a supernova from 33 light years hits earth every 240 million years, gamma rays would be responsible for most of the effects on earth like introducing a chemical reaction in the upper atmosphere, depleting the ozone layer to the point that it could expose the surface to harmful solar and cosmic radiation.

Would we know it was coming? The answer is yes!  When the radiation from the explosion begins to interact with the earth’s atmosphere the effects would become visible to humans.  At their brightest, supernova can outshine an entire galaxy.  At least we’ll see the shock coming before it happens.  It’s what happens after that is scary!

Additional Sources:


My Opinion

For the IK Pegasi B star I think that it will go supernova but thankfully not for a long time.  Since it’s expected to not happen for 10 million years I don’t think that I will ever experience a supernova in my lifetime.  A gamma-ray burst could affect Earth in much the same way as a supernova but again astronauts seem fairly certain it won’t happen for many years.



For this assignment I worked on developing my thinking competency.  I read many articles and thought deeply about the information before writing about my answer to the question for this assignment.  I also thought deeply about my question for this blog.  Also I worked on developing my researching skills.  It’s difficult to find articles that you can trust the information and I looked for many articles that I thought had credible information.

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