Search This Blog

Monday, September 28, 2020

Mystery: WR 104


Oh hey, welcome to my blog once more dear reader. Today, we’re going off to the final frontier: space. Home to more lifelessness than a congressional hearing, space is a fascinating place and it’s actually what I had my sights set on before I found my passion for writing (I had aspirations to be an astronomer). By and large, it’s not the most interesting thing to look at; the distance between Earth and the Moon is so vast that, when furthest from us, you could fit every single place between us and the Moon.


Indeed, there’s a lot of nothing in space, but that doesn’t make it uninteresting. The prospect of life on other planets is a fascinating one and to colonize a planet such as Mars is something that would be fascinating; one thing I hope to see in my life is for humanity to step foot on another world.


With that said, there are a great deal of things about space that take away from the empty voids that separate celestial bodies. Coincidentally, those things are also what would likely annihilate any and all life on Earth as we know it. While many would tell us that we have nothing to fear in regards to them as the likelihood of us ever experiencing one of them is astronomically slim (which is true), I do find those hazards interesting to read about.


For starters, we have solar flares and coronal mass ejections (or CMEs). These are the closest dangers we have to our home planet and they’re nothing to scoff at whatsoever. Both produced by our Sun (though naturally, any other star could create one, it simply wouldn’t affect Earth), a powerful enough solar flare could knock out our power grid for an extended period and not only force people to socialize outside, but leave hospitals without a means of keeping patients alive and healthy. There would also be a great deal of other problems. Lucky for us, there are ways to predict solar flares, but given that it takes light a mere eight minutes to reach Earth, there isn’t a lot of time to prepare.


On a personal note, I recall an instance as a child of a solar flare that briefly caused a blackout where I live. I was going to McDonalds and the traffic lights were out, so a traffic cop had to direct traffic. In hindsight, it was rather interesting and even kind of cool to see something so archaic (I am aware that it isn’t that archaic, but for where I live, you don’t often see it unless you’re near a school because nobody where I live is capable of driving) in action, but had the solar flare been stronger, it could have led to some genuinely bad news.


Now as for CMEs, these beasts are produced from the core of the Sun which is known as the Corona (I know, quite ironic). It was predicted that there was a 12% chance of one striking the Earth between 2012 and 2022; a “Carrington-class storm”. This refers to the Carrington Event, an extremely powerful CME that struck Earth in 1859. It was so powerful that the few electronics that existed back then I believe caught fire and ceased to function. Had it happened today, we would be royally boned (to put it in layman's terms). The closest we’ve come to another one was the solar flare of 2012, but it missed Earth by a mere nine days.


With that said: worrying about solar flares and CMEs isn’t something that the average Joe should do. While they’re a real threat, NASA has a means to monitor the Sun and odds are, while a storm like that would cause a lot of damage, it wouldn’t bring about the end of the world (contrary to what the Nicolas Cage film “Knowing” would have you believe). You’d just be forced to live as your parents/grandparents did. Or if it happened during this pandemic, you’d have to read a book, take up drawing/painting, or play with action figures and use your imagination. Or go hiking. Oh whatever, I’m rambling and we have more things to go over to establish this story, so let’s move on.


Meteors, comets, and asteroids—or simply space rocks—are second. These are easily the most well-known hazards to our humble home world and they pose a very real threat, though asteroids are generally the ones cited the most, though any space rock that is near Earth has a universal term: NEO (Near Earth Object). So for the sake of simplicity, I’ll be referring to this threat group as NEOs.


Leftovers from the Big Bang and formation of the solar system, NEOs have their own categorization that helps to rank them in the way of threats; the Torino Scale and the Palermo Technical Impact Hazard Scale, though the Torino Scale is the easier of the two to understand. Let’s quickly go over it.


0: Totes Safe


The first ranking is the only one in white (because the color of paper makes one realize they have no risk of getting a papercut—or in this case, no risk of having a six-mile-long chunk of rock destroy most of the life on their friendly rock floating in space). If there is no risk of Rock Daddy killing us, then the odds of it killing us all is more or less zero; it’s so low that there’s no reason whatsoever to even bother monitoring it.


1: Normalcy And You (or: ALL IS NORMAL, DON’T PANIC!)


Just as Joe Biden wants to bring us back to normalcy, so too is rank one of the Torino Scale’s threat-o-meter. Unlike future threat rankings, anything at rank one can and usually is lowered to rank zero. This is because anything here is typically only going to pass near Earth and then go on its merry way to who-knows-where until it either is yanked into another planet or floats off into the void of space and The Traveler mines it for precious minerals before returning to the Gek to hand in another mission.


2: Attention!


It’s around here when things begin to warrant the attention of astronomers. For rank two, this is when a discovery where an object makes a close enough approach (by astronomical standards at least), albeit not exceptionally or unusually close, nevertheless requires some level of attention in case the object ends up in a pathway that will eventually lead to it striking Earth. More often than not however, the threat rank will bring it back down to 0.


3: Attention V2.0


Should there be a calculation of at least 1% for a collision that’s capable of localized destruction be given, then a NEO is granted access to a threat level of three. Attention for the public and public officials is given merit should an encounter be less than a decade away is also given. Otherwise, there is a fair chance that the threat level is reduced to zero.


4: Attention V3.0 (Pre-Alpha)


Same as above; you paid sixty bucks for an update that rewards no new content.


5: Threaten Me Rock Daddy


It’s here when the risk of an impact becomes serious; big rock daddy is getting closer and closer. We’re all at risk, lads. Luckily, astronomers are looking at the sky with the intensity of the Sun and telescopes are pointed at the rocks floating around. Should there be a high risk of the NEO hitting Earth, then a government contingency plan is likely to be warranted. That is to say: Bruce Willis and pals are going into space to blow it up.


Side note: blowing up the asteroid is illogical and irresponsible; it shouldn’t be done.


6: Threaten Me Harder


Same as above, though the risk of what the object may cause is now a possible global catastrophe. The end of days may be at hand and, should the possible encounter be less than three decades away, we may need to send more than just Bruce Willis up there to make the object go boom. Yes, it may be illogical and whatnot, but I’m keeping the joke going because I want to.


7: WAIT, NOT THAT HARD!


This is a fair bit different, but still within the same risk category. To go by what Wikipedia states: should the object impact Earth within the century, would pose an  “unprecedented, but still uncertain, threat of global catastrophe”. Because of this, the idea of a governmental contingency plan goes out the window and instead would require an international plan to determine not only if the collision would occur, but to find a way to neutralize the threat before the object could potentially wipe out most—if not all—life on Earth.


8: Deep Impact


We’re in the home stretch and it’s here where things get terrifying. It’s at this point where a collision is certain and could cause localized destruction on a scale one would never fathom. Should the object impact over in the ocean or close to offshore, a tsunami could be formed. If that were to happen, the destruction would be catastrophic to say the absolute least. On a side note: events like this occur, on average, between once every 50–1,000+ years. It’s worth noting that these averages aren’t guaranteed, they are merely on average. A good example of a recent impact like this would be the Tunguska Event.


9: Armageddon


Much like above, a collision is certain, but the object is capable of causing a significant amount of damage; possibly causing destruction across an entire region. Should strike the ocean, a mega tsunami could and most likely would be formed (which that alone could wipe out entire coastal areas like New York City). Events like this typically happen once every 10,000–100,000 years.


10: We’re Screwed, Bois


The final threat level, a collision is certain and the object is capable of causing a global catastrophe that could annihilate life on Earth, regardless of where it hits. Impacts like this happen usually once every 100,000 years (if you go by Wikipedia, which I have for all of these estimates). It’s worth noting, however, that civilization is significantly different now than it was back then, so the devastation an impact would have on the world is a lot different than it would have had 100,000+ years ago.


These threat levels help to give insight into how dangerous a NEO is, but the devastation they can cause is nothing compared to the next cosmic threat. For above us, a bright light has appeared. Radiation floods over the world. What is this terrifying event? Well, let’s turn back time about fifty years.and head 410,621,982,316,875,000 miles (or 473,036,523,629,040 kilometers) away from Earth. Now we’re near a star and it’s quite bi—


Kaboom!


Supernovae and hypernovae (yes, the plural can be “ae”) are the third major threat. Most of you likely know what these are, but if you don’t: they’re the largest explosions in the Universe. They occur when a star dies; unleashing as much energy as the Sun will in its entire 10,000,000,000 year lifetime. Despite that, the minimum safe distance to not end up being fried by radiation and heat is 50–100-light-years; 50 for a supernova and 100 for a hypernova. The differences between them are simple: a hypernova is caused by an extreme core collapse when a star goes supernova. This magnificently deadly event can be upwards of one-hundred times more powerful than a regular supernova! Thankfully, no, there are no candidates close enough that could kill us if they were to go hypernova.


With that said, there is one candidate that could end up illuminating the sky in our lifetime: Betelgeuse. Though the odds of that happening aren’t exactly high, it’s just more likely than your average supernova candidate. As for any nearby supernova or hypernova candidate: there are none. If there was one though, we’d be screwed. So with that out of the way, let’s move on.


Next on the list is black holes—the woke counterpart to the hypothetical white hole and one of the greatest enigmas in the Universe. They’re gravitational pull is so strong, not even light can escape. It’s like your debt to banks: you can run as fast as you can, but it’ll always catch up to you.


Black holes are formed after a star dies; they’re dense, powerful forces of the heavens that we know next to nothing about. Luckily, there are none near us—barring the theory that Planet Nine is in fact a black hole. Though if one were to traverse to—or near—Earth, then we’d be screwed on a scale the likes of which mankind could never fathom.


Luckily, we’re safe and thus, while we may not have to worry about black holes, it’s not impossible for one to waltz into our solar system and ruin our day. Though let’s move on now, shall we?


Oh no, Nibiru wasn’t a joke! Well goodness, there goes our deductibles. We should’ve listened to Zechariah Sitchin, lads and lasses. Why do I say this? Well, rogue planets are up next.


Okay, before anyone who does believe in Nibiru scolds me: it’s a joke. The idea of rogue planets is a very real one, though they aren’t anywhere close to what Nibiru is (unless you subscribe to that version of the infamous planet). A rogue planet is simply a planet that doesn’t orbit a star. In the Milky Way alone, it’s believed there are billions or even trillions of rogue planets in our humble, “little” galaxy alone.


Exactly how a rogue planet comes to be is something that has a few factors, but most believe it’s caused when a star dies and the gravitational pull weakens, but that’s besides the point for this section. The main point is if they pose a threat to us. Given the size of our solar system, let alone the Milky Way (or heck, the entire Universe), that would be a no. However, to say “no” with any level of adamancy in astronomy is callous. There isn’t any guarantee a planet won’t roll up into the solar system like a gangster and do a drive-by; the son of a sun wearing a durag driving a planet-sized low rider screwing everything up. What a meanie.


Anyways, the odds of this happening are extremely low, but they remain on the table given the probability can’t hit 0%. Still, it’s likely that only in a movie like Melancholia or any other work of creative fiction would it happen. Don’t go against the house kid, you’d be throwing your money away.


On one final note: Wikipedia also states that rogue planets also have the names of: interstellar planet, nomad planet, free-floating planet, unbound planet, orphan planet, wandering planet, starless planet, or sunless planet. Quite interesting how many different names there are for them.


Moving on now: star light, star bright, we’ve all burned to death because Gliese 710 came too close to Earth. The next major threat are rogue stars. These are almost the exact same as rogue planets, except they’re dead spheres of plasma and other energies that I’m too stupid to understand. Sorry, science community.


Rogue stars are stars that lack any home galaxy. However, some are of the opinion that there are stars that, within our own galaxy, are roaming like rogue planets and will wreak unprecedented havoc unto our own solar system, possibly even destroying Earth in its entirety. This star is known either as Nemesis or Nibiru (yes, the supposed home planet of the Anunnaki and the centerpiece of the 2012 theory). It’s allegedly a brown dwarf and we’ll go over it sometime early next year. For now, let’s just move on.


Jupiter’s gravitational pull on Mercury is next. Yes, Earth’s supposed guardian angel is also its potential killer. I haven’t been this shocked since Midnight’s Edge posted a video about Star Wars.


This possible doomsday scenario would take place long after you and I are dead—and I mean long after. We’re talking 3–4 billion years in the future. Not only that, but the probability of it happening is extremely low—a paltry 1–2% chance. How this would work is that, through a very strange coincidence, Jupiter and Mercury would fall into sync during its perihelion and the former would tug at the latter until it would crash into the Sun, Venus, or Earth. In some scenarios, Mars would also be ejected from the Solar System; some scenarios also have Mercury not crash into anything and instead be ejected from our humble home of planetary bodies.


Moving on, we get to arguably the scariest and strangest: The False Vacuum. Oh boy, this is going to be a pain to go over. I want to preface this by saying that my understanding of particle physics is abysmal, so I’m going to keep this laughably simple. I will also no doubt butcher the reality of the False Vacuum to the point that physicists around the world will want to kill me.


In essence: the idea of the false vacuum is that the Universe isn’t stable and, at any second, could end. Everything basically goes to complete and total crap and everything is eviscerated faster than you could ever fathom. If you’re a quantum or particle physicist, please don’t kill me. I swear, I’m doing by absolute best to explain this.


I may try to cover this theory next month, but I make zero promises. With that said: the reason I mention this one is that, ultimately, we have no idea if we even live in a “false vacuum”, yet it’s one of the much more pleasant ways to perish if all life were to end because you’d never see it coming.


So what’s the point of all of this; where’s the actual story? Well, there is a point to this—at least, I firmly believe so. I wanted to acquaint you with the threats from above, but I’ve left one out, but we’ll get to it in a moment. For now, let’s ask a question: while all of these possible scenarios are quite terrifying, are they likely? In all honesty: no, but that doesn’t mean they can’t happen. Solar flares have hit Earth before, as have asteroids and other space rocks. Some of the others may also potentially happen (Jupiter causing Mercury to go AWOL, for example, is possible, albeit not in our lifetime), but it’s very unlikely we’ll live to see a supernova occur, let alone one close enough to cause severe damage to Earth’s protective barriers.


What I can say with some level of confidence is that we’ll live to see an asteroid hit Earth. Whether or not its effects are its cataclysmic depends on who you ask. Personally, I don’t think so, nor do I think it will be in your grandchildren's lifetime either, but that’s no excuse to not try everything we can to make sure future generations don’t end up living in a wasteland. As such, I recommend we all try to pitch in for a gigantic tennis racket that we can use to knock any dangerous space rocks into Elon Musk’s Red Planet. Match me, guys!


Ahem, okay, joking aside, I want to get to the point of this write-up. There’s one threat from the heavens that I didn’t mention; one that can best be described as the most luminous events in the Universe. Known as Gamma-Ray Bursts (or GRBs) these events have been observed from as far as billions of light-years away from Earth and release as much energy in a matter of seconds as our Sun will in its entire lifetime. Their power also puts both supernovae and hypernovae to absolute shame; even at upwards of 8,000-light-years away, a GRB could still annihilate all life on Earth. So it’s a good thing that all GRBs ever observed are outside of the Milky Way, right?


Right?


Well, not quite—possibly. Kind of. It’s complicated.


You see, today’s story is unlike any other that we’ve covered to date. Known as WR 104, this star rests about 7,500-light-years from Earth. It’s also the only known candidate for a Gamma-Ray Burst in our galaxy—at least as of the time of this writing. However, it’s unknown if this star has its poles aimed at us or away from us, or if it’s even still “alive”. So today, we’re here to discuss whether or not this killer star really will cause our eventual demise or if we’re all safe. So strap in, dear reader, it’s time to discuss what may be the world ender.


Gamma-Ray Bursts


To kick things off, I want to clarify what exactly Gamma-Ray Bursts are. As stated above, they’ve only ever been observed outside of our galaxy and there are theories as to why that is (outside of them being exceedingly rare), but we’ll get to that in a moment. For now, let’s start off with how they’re formed—or at least, how we believe they’re formed.


If you’re to do a quick Google search for “How are Gamma-Ray Bursts formed?”, you’re not likely to get a straight answer. The closest you can get is NASA’s starchild website, which provides us with some speculative answers as to what causes these fantastical events.


1. Colliding Neutron Stars


Neutron Stars are really interesting. They’re the remnants of dead stars; generally having a mass that’s 1.4 times that of the Sun. However, they’re also not much larger than a small city. Because of this, what you have is something that’s heavier than the Sun, but compacted into something that wouldn’t even be the size of New York City. As such, a mere teaspoon of a Neutron Star would weigh 10 million tons; or as much as Mount Everest. The theory centering on these dead stars is that, when two collide, they produce a Gamma-Ray Burst.


2. A Neutron Star and a Black Hole


We’ve already discussed black holes above. The theory is the same as above, but swap out one of the stars for a black hole. Make sure to destroy all monsters on the field!


3. Colliding Black Holes


Yet again, we have big celestial bodies colliding. In this case, two black holes. Wow, these theories are really collision heavy. Is there anything that doesn’t have heavenly bodies hitting each other like two boxers? Well, yes there is!


4. Hypernovae


I mentioned hypernovae way above and it’s time to hone in on them. As stated before, they’re quite a bit more powerful than a regular supernova, but they’re also a fair bit rarer (at least, as far as I’m aware). When a massive star dies, it can become a hypernova; the GRB erupting out from its poles and going for light years until it eventually dies off. However, some also state that in order for the GRB to be formed, the star must be spinning extremely quickly. Whether this is the case or not, I’m not sure.


Now with that said: what exactly are Gamma-Ray Bursts? Well, as I’ve already stated, they’re the most luminous events in the Universe. Every known GRB has been from millions or even billions of light years away; none have ever been observed in the Milky Way. Their luminosity isn’t the only thing about that makes these events so noteworthy. In a matter of seconds, a GRB can put out as much energy as the Sun will in its entire life (like a supernova, this is 10,000,000,000 years). The power also doesn’t wane after 50-light-years like a supernova or 100-light-years like a hypernova. Rather, a GRB can be dangerous even if we’re thousands of light years away. I’m not quite sure why exactly, but I would hazard to say it’s due to the concentrated power of it; a supernova explodes and will fade off after some time, but a GRB will remain in a straight line, never waning until it tapers off like water coming out of a hose. Only the water stretches for quintillions upon quintillions of miles.


Though for as much as we’ve observed the cosmos, we know little about these magnificent events. Though one thing is for certain: if one were to hit us, it would spell “doom” for life on Earth—and it would be really scary. Unlike, say, an asteroid, we can’t think of a way to deflect something like a GRB (though I once heard a suggestion that involved placing a giant mirror in orbit to deflect the beam). These events are also something we can’t detect until they’re here; unless we had a satellite that was light years away from us, transmitting data back to us on possible GRB candidates, the only way we’ll ever know about the GRB is once it’s lit up our sky like a heavenly rave. As for the star that produced it; the brightening of the star would reach us when the starry death ray does too. To make matters even more confusing: the width of the burst determines how far it’ll go for. The wider the beam, the shorter it’ll go for, but the more it can encompass. On the other hand: the narrower, the farther it’ll go, but the less it can consume in its radioactive juiciness.


As for what a Gamma-Ray Burst would do to Earth: it would rip away every protective layer in our atmosphere and expose us to radiation. A lot of radiation. Gamma Rays are used in chemotherapy to treat cancer, but given the sheer level of power these bursts hold, it should go without saying that you wouldn’t be getting anything close to safe. Rather, you, the rest of the population, and Earth itself would be deep fried like a cosmic Chernobyl. To top it all off: a GRB can last for a few seconds or a few minutes. Not even a nuclear war would irradiate the world as much as one of these beams!


This is why I wanted to cover the threats in the opening and why I took so much time to go over them in as concise a manner as I did. While most of us would think that an asteroid striking the Earth is the scariest thing we have to worry about from the heavens, there are a great number of dangers and none of them come close to what a Gamma-Ray Burst could do. Sure, a black hole is scary, but the odds of one entering our solar system are even smaller than that of a GRB; those would also be easier to detect based on the effects they’d bring about to our solar system. I digress though; with all of that out of the way, it’s time we jump into the main story; that of WR 104. The counter’s going to read far higher than 10Gy when we’re done with it.


The Story



As stated in the introduction, WR 104 is 7,500-light-years away from Earth and is a potential candidate to produce the aforementioned Gamma-Ray Burst. Though before we delve into that, let’s discuss the star in a bit of detail so we know what we’re dealing with. You see: stars aren’t all just the big flaming yellow balls of plasma that we see in movies, TV shows, video games, books, comics, art pieces and outside if we stare at the Sun without any protection because we want to become Ray Charles. No, they come in all sizes, colors, and sometimes even orbit each other.


As I said earlier: WR 104 is located 7,500-light-years from Earth. A binary star system, the main star of the triple star system is a Wolf–Rayet Star (or WR for short) that is in the death throes of its life. At least, it is in the realm of astronomy. While most would take that as “it’ll die in a few weeks”, the astronomical variant of that phrase means that it’ll die long after you, myself, and all of your friends and family are dead. In this case, roughly 500,000 years. With that said, why even worry? It isn’t our problem. It’s our great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandchildren’s problem!


Well, that’s the thing. There’s a major factor that places this star in the realm of having already died; a star that’s 7,500-light-years away from us is appearing as it was 7,500 years ago. It’s possible that, at some point, WR 104 exploded and produced a GRB and is now sending its death beam of death towards us. This deathy beam of super death would have unprecedented effects on Earth, such as annihilating all life, tearing away our biosphere, and repeating factoids that were stated earlier because the author of this write-up wanted to pad out the word length so he felt smarter than he really is. So that begs the question if it is aimed at us, thus bringing this segment full circle (like a star). So how do we answer this? Easy, we use telescopes and watch it.


Through the use of high powered telescopiticals (that’s a word now, shut up), we can gauge the angle at which WR 104 is aimed. Throughout the years, several astronomers have stated that the star is aimed at Earth. At the same time, several more have said it isn’t. No consensus has ever been reached on whether or not we’re totally boned and that brings us to the strange part of this story: the end.


Yeah, as strange as it may seem, that’s really the end of WR 104’s story. A terrifying open-ended mystery that leads us to wonder if there is a Gamma-Ray Burst flying through the cosmos towards us. While it may seem like this write-up was 90% space facts, the terrifying prospect of a magnificently beautiful and horrific beam of radiation makes this—in my eyes—one of the most amazing mysteries in the Universe. I must also admit that I am biased as I’m extremely passionate about astronomy, so I couldn’t resist covering it. Besides, I think this blog could use some more diversity in its material. With all of that said though, let us hop into the theories.


Theories


1. It’s aimed at us and we’re all doomed


Paddle faster, I hear the astronomical geiger counter acting up.


Our first theory dictates that we’re all doomed to die at the plasmatic hands of a dying star that will turn us all into a mixture of a Dan Reynolds song and cockroach food. A truly terrifying prospect, but is there any truth to it? Well, that’s where this theory and the next one really blend into one. You see: there’s a lot one could say in favor and against it, but it all boils down to whether or not you believe the current calculations for WR 104. As it stands: some astronomers do believe that WR 104 is aimed at us while others do not, but due to this theory being centered on it being aimed at us, what does that exactly mean?


Well, it means nothing on its own. Plenty of stars have their poles aimed at us and in WR 104’s case, it means precisely jack if it doesn’t produce a Gamma-Ray Burst. In order for it to do that, WR 104 would need to be orbiting quick enough and the beam would need to hit Earth. As we discussed earlier: they can be an array of sizes and if the beam were too narrow, it could miss Earth entirely. If it’s too wide, it simply won’t reach us.


Though assuming that all went horrifically wrong for us and the beam did hit Earth, then there’s nothing we can do. We’d be in deep, deep trouble, but it’s not worth worrying about such a thing when the law of probability is on our side. So if everything does go wrong, all we can do is look on the bright side: before we die, we’ll get a sick light show in the sky. Hallelujah!


2. We’re safe


Our second theory is that WR 104 isn’t aimed at Earth and hasn’t even gone supernova. Indeed, all is safe in the world and the heavens above will not turn into a celestial crab rave.


There are a few reasons as to why we should believe that we’re safe. The first is that some estimates put WR 104 as not being likely to go supernova for the next 500,000 years. Another reason is that some calculations have the star aimed away from us. Finally, as stated above, there are a fair number of requirements needed for a star to produce a GRB and in order for WR 104 to achieve this, we need to have a string of extraordinarily bad luck. The cards are stacked against the death star and its hand is a pair to our royal flush.


3. WR 104 has already exploded, but it wasn’t aimed at us


A sort of hybrid theory of the previous two, this is the final one and it posits that while WR 104 had already gone supernova, it wasn’t aimed at us. There’s little more to it than that and it takes into consideration the various talking points of the previous two theories. Just merge the best of both worlds and ta-da! We’ve got safety and one less dangerous star to worry about.


My Take


In my eyes: WR 104 is a unique mystery. No one knows whether or not it’s aimed at us and in my eyes, that makes it one of the scariest. This isn’t a serial killer who stalks the night or a missing person, but rather something that would annihilate all life on Earth in a heartbeat. 1-2-3 and wham, we’re all screwed.


Though with that said, I have serious doubts that it’s aimed at us. At the same time however, I also firmly believe that it’s worth keeping an eye on it in case it actually is. Mankind isn’t infallible (understatement of all-time) and if we were to be wrong about this, someone is getting fired before the radiation takes them, their boss, and their mother-in-law. On top of that: when it comes to something as dangerous as a Gamma-Ray Burst, simply brushing or waving it off is ridiculously callous and I have no idea why anyone would dare think that it isn’t worth our time to make sure we can be safe from what is essentially the intergalactic version of bullet to the head.


Conclusion


Although I firmly believe that we have nothing to fear but fear itself, WR 104 is likely to be something of a starry offshoot of Nibiru once folks realize that Nemesis is actually our friend. Once that day arrives, our descendents shall have their own 2012 and we can all sit back, relax, and watch as another generation falls into a state of endless panic and anxiety. Folks, pop out the Xanax, the end is nigh yet again!


I did my absolute best to make sure I didn’t spread any misinformation or scientific inaccuracies. This was the first time I’ve ever had to tackle something that was out of my general field of “expertise” (even though I had aspirations to be an astronomer once) and as such, I tried whatever I could to make sure I didn’t ultimately screw up. If I did: please let me know in the comments down below. Thank you!


No comments:

Post a Comment