The Sting of the Scorpion!

Date: Wed Jan 09 2002 - 10:11:45 MST
Another Reason to move life off-planet, besides, the sun going nuts, global
warming due to methane burps, volcanic calder'a's going poop, and your
movie-grade meteor strike.
Date: Posted 1/9/2002
Ancient Supernova May Have Triggered Eco-Catastrophe

<<An exploding star may have destroyed part of Earth's protective ozone layer
2 million years ago, devastating some forms of ancient marine life, according
to a new theory presented at this week's meeting of the American Astronomical
Society. The new theory brings together puzzling clues from several different
fields of research, including paleontology, geology and astronomy. Narciso
Benitez, an associate research scientist in astronomy in the Krieger School
of Arts and Sciences at The Johns Hopkins University, says the "missing
smoking gun" that brought the clues together was the revelation that a
stellar cluster with many large, short-lived stars prone to producing
supernovae had passed near Earth's solar system several million years ago.
That discovery, made by co-author and Space Telescope Science Institute
astronomer Jesus Maiz-Apellaniz, led Benitez to check the scientific record
for potential effects of nearby supernovae on the Earth. "Nobody had realized
that this cluster of stars that Jesus had tracked, which is known as the
Scorpius-Centaurus OB association, could have been so close to Earth during
the past several million years," Benitez says. "And when I did a search, one
of the first things that popped out was a 1999 finding where a team of German
astronomers led by Klaus Knie detected the presence of a highly unusual
isotope of iron in samples of the Earth's crust drilled from the deep ocean
bottom." >>


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