Eta Carinae could kill us all next year. I hate when that happens:
Mario Livio, of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland warns that Eta Carinae could be “seen to explode at any time.” [BBC News]
Esteemed NASA scientist Stefan Immler at the Goddard Space Flight Center thinks Eta Carinae could very well explode in our lifetime, or even in the next few years.
Well, maybe Earth has a little more time, right? Well, maybe not.
Some astrophysicists at the European Space Agency have suggested it’s quite possible, based on observational analysis, that the killer star has already gone hypernova thousands of years ago and the speeding death rays could inundate Earth in as little as a year.
How exciting. Of course, that something is “possible” is not to say that it is likely. The problem with this kind of event is that getting off the planet is no protection, per se, though if we were spacefaring, we could at least have shelters ready, and put out pickets in the outer solar system to give us some warning, since there’s some evidence that gamma rays are subluminal.