An explosion among the greatest ever recorded passed through oursolar system on December 27, about 40 hours after themassive tsunami struck the Indian Ocean. The massive energypulse was followed by a powerful solar storm and a month ofweather chaos on earth.
Unfortunately, science at present has no way of determiningwhether or not the energy pulse, which came from theexplosion of a dying neutron star, was connected to eventson earth.
The explosion actually took place 50,000 years ago, as thestar that exploded was 50,000 light years from earth. Itemitted more energy in two-tenths of a second than the sunreleases in a hundred thousand years. This astonishingobject is only eight miles in diameter. The star, SGR1806-20, is in the constellation of Sagittarius. It is threebillion times farther from the earth than the sun.
Had it been within 10 light years of earth, the explosionwould have sterilized our planet, sending life here back tothe level of simple organisms that can survive highradiation levels. The nearest known magnetar, a neutron starwith a strong magnetic field that is prone to emit this typeof energy pulse, is 1E 2259+156, which is 13,000 light yearsaway.
There are no known unstable stars close enough to expose usto this kind of danger, however many galaxies are known toemit superwaves, which routinely bombard the entire galacticstructure with more radiation than would be survivable if itstruck earth. Such galaxies are unlikely to contain planetsthat sustain life.
For a tenth of a second on December 27, the flare from SGR1806-20 was brighter than the full moon.
It is worth noting that the gigantic earthquake the struckthe Indian Ocean took place just 40 hours before the flare.Some scientists theorize that such explosions are precededby gravity waves, and it is possible that such a wave couldhave destabilized the fault in the Sundra Trench that led tothe quake.
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