Lethal Astronomical Occurrences
Name: Mike W.
Date: Thursday, September 12, 2002
Outside of a collision with a asteroid/meteor or the sun
expanding, what are other potentially earth lethal astronomical
An interesting question that is the domain of both scientist and fiction
writer. Just a couple of thoughts which come quickly to mind...
The sun is scheduled to go supernova... but not for about 4.5 billion years.
The rotation of the earth continues to slow lengthening our day (due to
tidal friction). Someday this could greatly change our weather. (But we
will likely be sucked in by the supernova first.)
Are you familiar with the Oort cloud. It is hypothesized to be a stock pile
of comet nuclei (maybe 100's of trillions of them) located 50,000 AU from us
and orbiting our sun. A passing large body (perhaps a dark star) could
disturb this cloud and cause a torrent of comets. Some think this may have
happened at a point early in the solar system's history.
All of these are reasons (and more manmade ones) that we should appreciate
the importance of moving off the earth into space. Our earth is fragile and
it would be a shame if - as unlikely as they are - the earth and mankind
are destroyed by one. We do have all our eggs in one basket - the earth.
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Update: June 2012