Myth vs Reality: Supernova Danger

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This short video addresses the misconception that supernovae are close enough to pose a threat to life on Earth.


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Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach.
All images, illustrations, and videos courtesy of NASA, ESA, and STScI except:
·       Night sky imagery created with Stellarium
·       Images of supernova in the Pinwheel Galaxy (SN 2011fe) courtesy of Peter Nugent and the Palomar Transient Factory, Thunderf00t (Wikipedia), and BJ Fulton/LCOGT
·       Type Ia supernova animation courtesy of ESO/M. Kornmesser
·       Taurus constellation drawing from Firmamentum Sobiescianum sive Uranographia by Johannes Hevelius, courtesy of the United States Naval Observatory
·       Black-and-white Crab Nebula image: Bill Schoening/NOAO/AURA/NSF
·       Drawing of the Crab Nebula by William Parsons, the Third Earl of Rosse
Written by Vanessa Thomas
Designed by John Godfrey


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Bright teal lines separate the screen in half. Title. Myth versus Reality. Above the Myth side is a constellation map with a horned bull. On the Reality side is a bright bursting light.
Text. Myth. Supernovae pose a threat to life on Earth.
Reality. Most supernovae are far too far from the Earth to have any effect on us. If a star should explode relatively close to us, closer than roughly 100 light-years away, it could damage Earth's ozone layer and shower us with X-rays, gamma rays, and energetic particles. Fortunately, there is no star within 100 light-years that is likely to explode any time soon.