So far, we have had only close calls from gamma ray explosions so large, scientists have suggested, that if they occurred within our solar neighborhood (less than 1,000 light years) they could potentially trigger mass extinctions on Earth.
“Somewhere,” said Carl Sagan, “something incredible is waiting to be known” –“I’ve never seen anything like this before in the local universe,” said Stephen Smartt, an astrophysicist at Queen’s University Belfast and a lead scientist for the Hawaii-based ATLAS survey, about “something incredible” –a mysterious cataclysm in a neighboring galaxy that rocked the world’s astronomy community with its discovery on June 16, 2018.
Seething supergiant Betelgeuse –a star so huge it could someday collapse into a black hole or neutron star, which would make it the closest black hole to Earth some 725 light-years distant– has displayed unprecedentedly large drop in its brightness in early 2020, prompting speculation that the pulsing may be a dire prelude. A new study by an international team of scientists concluded that the star is in the early core helium-burning phase (more than 100,000 years before a supernova event) and has smaller mass and radius–and is closer to Earth–than previously thought. If the bright-red object replaced the Sun at the center of our solar system, its outer surface would extend past the orbit of Jupiter.
When we consider the origins of life in our Solar System, a remarkable discovery has to be taken into account –the Solar System is substantially over-abundant in metals compared with average interstellar abundances at the time of its formation 4.6 billion years ago. These solar abundances are similar to present interstellar abundances, an anomaly that remains a mystery. One possibility scientists suggest is that the Sun formed much closer to the galactic center than its current position, which may have resulted in a plentiful supply of raw materials in the solar nebula from which to form the Earth and its biosphere.
“Although Earth was originally created from the Sun (as part of the ecliptic plane of debris and dust that circulated around the Sun 4.5 billion years ago), our Sun is barely hot enough to fuse hydrogen to helium, observed physicist Michio Kaku in Parallel Worlds: A Journey through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos. “This means that our true “mother” sun was actually an unnamed star or collection of stars that died billions of years ago in a supernova, which then seeded nearby nebulae with the higher elements beyond iron that make up our body. Literally, our bodies are made of stardust, from stars that died billions of years ago.”
The oldest planet ever detected in the universe, The PSR B1620-26 system lies around 5,600 light years away in galaxy cluster M4, directly west of red supergiant star Antares is estimated to be around 13 billion years—almost three times as old as the Solar System.orbiting a binary system of a white dwarf and a pulsar.