Document Detail

Superluminous supernovae: no threat from eta Carinae.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18199005     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Recently, Supernova 2006gy was noted as the most luminous ever recorded, with a total radiated energy of approximately 10(44) Joules. It was proposed that the progenitor may have been a massive evolved star similar to eta Carinae, which resides in our own Galaxy at a distance of about 2.3 kpc. eta Carinae appears ready to detonate. Although it is too distant to pose a serious threat as a normal supernova, and given that its rotation axis is unlikely to produce a gamma-ray burst oriented toward Earth, eta Carinae is about 30,000 times nearer than 2006gy, and we re-evaluate it as a potential superluminous supernova. We have found that, given the large ratio of emission in the optical to the X-ray, atmospheric effects are negligible. Ionization of the atmosphere and concomitant ozone depletion are unlikely to be important. Any cosmic ray effects should be spread out over approximately 10(4) y and similarly unlikely to produce any serious perturbation to the biosphere. We also discuss a new possible effect of supernovae-e-ndocrine disruption induced by blue light near the peak of the optical spectrum. This is a possibility for nearby supernovae at distances too large to be considered "dangerous" for other reasons. However, due to reddening and extinction by the interstellar medium, eta Carinae is unlikely to trigger such effects to any significant degree.
Brian C Thomas; Adrian L Melott; Brian D Fields; Barbara J Anthony-Twarog
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Astrobiology     Volume:  8     ISSN:  1531-1074     ISO Abbreviation:  Astrobiology     Publication Date:  2008 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-02-22     Completed Date:  2008-06-23     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101088083     Medline TA:  Astrobiology     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  9-16     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas 66621, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Atmosphere / chemistry*
Computer Simulation
Cosmic Radiation*
Earth (Planet)*
Models, Chemical
Photons / adverse effects*

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