8th century radiation blast.

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http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v486/n7402/full/nature11123.html

http://mnras.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/01/08/mnras.sts378.full

A real mystery is developing. In 2012 researchers found evidence that our planet had been struck by a blast of radiation during the Middle Ages, but there was debate over what kind of cosmic event could have caused this. Either a rare solar flare or an even bigger explosion, a gamma-ray burst seems to be the culprit. Last year, a team of researchers found that some ancient cedar trees in Japan had an unusual level of a radioactive type of carbon known as carbon-14. In Antarctica, too, there was a spike in levels of a form of beryllium – beryllium-10 – in the ice. These isotopes are created when intense radiation hits the atoms in the upper atmosphere, suggesting that a blast of energy had once hit our planet from space. Using tree rings and ice-core data, researchers were able to pinpoint that this would have occurred between the years AD 774 and AD 775, but the cause of the event was a puzzle.

Observations of deep space suggest that gamma ray-bursts are rare. They are thought to happen at the most every 10,000 years per galaxy, and at the least every million years per galaxy. If a cosmic explosion happened at the same distance as the 8th Century event, it could knock out our satellites. But if it occurred even closer – just a few hundred light-years away – it would destroy our ozone layer, with devastating effects for life on Earth.

Two teams of scientists, two different conclusions! That’s the way science works. Either more data, or a better developed theory will show which one is right. Until then, may the debate continue.

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6 comments on “8th century radiation blast.

  1. It is interesting to know that gamma ray-bursts mostly happen every 10,000 years and the effect that can cause on Earth. It is incredible how it could knock out satellites and destroy ozone layer. It is also scary and terrified to know that we can be burnt alive. However, I think that anyone would be able to survive this terrified blast.
    Yessenia Marquez

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  2. This is an Interesting story and scary as well, its unbelievable what the struck of radiation can cause to our planet and it is even more scary to believe that this can happen again any time soon and knowing that this time the damage could be worst because it can destroy the ozone layer possibly destroy life on earth.

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  3. Very interesting and also very alarming. I can also see why both debates is an ongoing argument. Both have a good idea about how our planet had been struck by a blast of radiation long ago. The evidence presented in this article are good sources and that does tell us that our planet did in fact was struck by some kind of radiation. Also thinking that if this had happened sooner to our time then we all be in big trouble. The thought of it is very scary, I donít think anybody or anything would even survive this blast. Good article!

    Tiffanie Q. Watchman ________________________________

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  4. Very interesting and also very alarming. I can also see why both debates is an ongoing argument. Both have a good idea about how our planet had been struck by a blast of radiation long ago. The evidence presented in this article are good sources and that does tell us that our planet did in fact was struck by some kind of radiation. Also thinking that if this had happened sooner to our time then we all be in big trouble. The thought of it is very scary, I don’t think anybody or anything would even survive this blast. Good article!

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  5. This is pretty sweet stuff, although it is also slightly scary if our ozone is ever destroyed. I do not really want to be burnt alive, we would would’t we? But it is very interesting as wesley said that one burst releases as much as the sun over a period of 10 billion years. Super Powerful!!

    Jaren Foote
    ASTR 105G- M01

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  6. The amount of energy that gamma ray bursts emit is enormous. It’s hard to believe that a normal burst releases as much energy in a few seconds as the Sun does in its entire 10-billion-year lifetime! I wonder how we could adapt if our ozone layer was destroyed by one of these bursts?

    Wesley Watts
    ASTR 105G – M01

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