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The End of the World

Gamma-Ray Bursts

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Gamma-ray bursts are a single way the world can end. These bursts originate in distant galaxies and are about 10 quadrillion times more powerful then our sun. The bursts are created by the merging of two stars. The stars would be undetectable, so we'd have no way of knowing when we'd be hit by a Gamma-ray burst. Even at distances of a 1,000 light-years, that's far enough to not be able to see stars. Yet, during the burst it would appear as bright as our Sun. The atmoshpere should be able to protect us from the Gamma rays but Earth's atmoshpere would be burnt to the extent that it would produce nitrogen oxides that would destroy our ozone layer. Without the ozone layer, ultraviolet rays from the sun would hit the surface of Earth at nearly full force, causing skin cancer and, killing off the tiny plankton in the ocean that bolster the bottom of the food chain. Gamma-ray bursts observed in the past have been rather distant because the events are rather rare. But there is no way of knowing if one could hit Earth any time soon, because they are just too unpredictable.

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Created by Maciej Kadlubowski