There's a binary solar system, consisting of two suns, out there, rotating and twisting through space. If it comes near us, it may shoot out a beam of gamma rays that could eliminate all life on this planet in an instant.
The solar system was first spotted 8 years ago by Australian astronomers. One of the suns is a highly unstable star that is about to explode into a supernova.
On the Cosmos website, John Pickrell quotes astronomer Peter Tuthill, one of the team who discovered the suns, as saying, "When it finally explodes as a supernova, it could emit an intense beam of gamma rays coming our way. Viewed from Earth, the rotating tail appears to be laid out on the sky in an almost perfect spiral. It could only appear like that if we are looking nearly exactly down on the axis of the binary system. If such a gamma-ray burst happens, we really do not want Earth to be in the way. I used to appreciate this spiral just for its beautiful form, but now I can't help a twinge of feeling that it is uncannily like looking down a rifle barrel."
Art credit: gimp-savvy.com
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