If there is a supernova explosion four light years away, what will be the fate of the earth and mankind?

Star is a kind of universal celestial body in the universe. It is the bright light and heat source of the universe. Stars continuously radiate energy through internal nuclear fusion, bringing some light and warmth to the dark and cold universe.

Stars are also very important celestial bodies in the evolution of the universe. The universe just born 13.8 billion years ago is not as colorful as it is now. At that time, there were only hydrogen, helium and other basic elements in the whole space. Later, stars were born, and nuclear fusion inside stars could continuously convert hydrogen into oxygen, iron and other heavy elements.


When the star reaches the end of its life, it will go through different evolution processes. In this process, it will evolve more heavy elements and enrich the elemental composition of the universe. It was the birth of various elements that led to the complex evolution of the universe, the birth of life and the emergence of human beings.

Stars are the element processing factories of the universe, which continuously convert a large number of hydrogen elements into various elements. Stars constantly burn themselves, lighting up and warming the universe, bringing vitality to the universe. However, even such a great star is not eternal, and it has a day when its life comes to an end. And the larger the mass of the star, the shorter the life, often only tens of millions of years.

And the evolution of the universe is inseparable from massive stars, because these massive stars at the end of life, will quickly release their own energy, scientists call it supernova explosion, in this process, will evolve some heavy elements needed for the evolution of the universe. These heavy elements can only be produced when a supernova explodes.


Supernova explosion means that some stars experience a violent explosion near the end of their evolution. This explosion is extremely bright, and the sudden electromagnetic radiation in the process can often illuminate the whole galaxy in which they are located. During this period, the energy radiated by supernovae is comparable to the total energy radiated by the sun in its lifetime.

Therefore, this is a very strong and terrible energy burst in the universe. Its influence is not only on the galaxy, but also can continue to a very long distance, especially on the planet of life.


Four light years from earth, there is a Bilin galaxy, a three-star system with three stars of different masses. If there is a supernova explosion at this location, what will be the fate of the earth and mankind?

First of all, we need to understand that not all stars can have a supernova explosion at the end of their life. This kind of violent energy explosion requires the mass of the star. Generally speaking, the supernova explosion of massive stars occurs at the end of their evolution. For stars with mass like the sun, even at the end of evolution, the core collapses and the shell breaks away gently, and there will be no supernova explosion.

After the end of the life of a massive star, the core collapses and the huge pressure will cause supernova explosion. The energy released in this process is even more than the radiation energy of the whole life cycle of the sun. This is an extremely violent explosion process. The radiant energy can spread to the deep space far away from the polar period. If there is a living planet in this range, it will be a catastrophic crisis of destruction.


So what is the energy range of supernova explosion radiation? According to scientists’ research estimates, supernova explosions within 100 light-years may have a devastating impact on life on earth. Maybe someone will say, is the radiation energy of supernova explosion so powerful? If so, once a supernova erupts 4 light-years away, isn’t the earth and mankind finished?

Supernova explosion itself is not terrible, the real terrible thing is that in the process of explosion, gamma ray bursts may be released. I believe many friends have heard of gamma ray bursts, which are the strongest explosion phenomena in the known universe. They can release huge energy in a very short time, and they are invincible everywhere they go.


If there are planets blocking the progress of the GRB, it may directly vaporize the planet completely. Gamma ray bursts are the terminators of life. As long as there is life in the range of its radiation, it is difficult to escape the fate of being terminated. Why are gamma ray bursts the terminator of life? Originally, it will promote the combination of nitrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere to generate nitrogen oxide deposition, making life lose the protection of the ozone layer.

At the same time, high-energy gamma rays will reach the earth’s surface, destroy biological DNA, and eventually lead to the end of life. How do gamma ray bursts come from? The mainstream view in the scientific community is that it comes from supernova explosion. As long as a massive star has a supernova explosion at the end of its evolution, there is a great probability that it will release gamma ray bursts.

The distance of 4 light-years is a very short distance in the universe. In this range, as long as there is a supernova explosion and gamma ray bursts, the planet earth will basically bid farewell to the universe, and millions of earth life will come to an end. However, it is difficult to say whether human beings will end or not. It mainly depends on the scientific and technological strength of human beings at that time.


If human beings are already a powerful interstellar civilization, it is still possible to escape the radiation range of supernova explosion. Of course, the position of the earth in the Milky way is very lucky, and so are human beings. According to the current observations of scientists, the mass of stars near the solar system is not large. Even Sirius, the brightest star 8.6 light years away from the earth, has only 2.2 times the mass of the earth.

Even if this mass reaches the end of evolution, it will eventually evolve into a white dwarf without supernova explosion. Although there are three stars in the biling Galaxy 4.2 light-years away from the earth, the largest star a is only a little larger than the sun, and there is no possibility of supernova explosion. At present, most of the massive stars that are most likely to have supernova explosion are 160 light-years away.


Even though the earth is not at ease, it is still unknown how many massive stars have not been observed within 100 light-years of the solar system. Even the massive stars 160 light-years away, once a supernova explosion occurs, there is no guarantee that it will not bring crisis to the earth.

We should know that the energy level of gamma ray bursts is also very different, and the radiation range of small gamma ray bursts is relatively small. But if it’s some large gamma ray bursts, the energy level will be very high, and the radiation range will be more distant, possibly more than 160 light years. Some scientists once thought that some gamma ray bursts might radiate thousands of light years away.

Some scientists speculate that several of the mass extinctions in the history of the earth may be related to gamma ray bursts. In any case, in the face of a supernova explosion, what humans can do is to leave the solar system and run out of the radiation range before it arrives. And to survive gamma ray bursts, we need to have the ability of interstellar navigation.


Therefore, we should not be proud of human science and technology. Standing in the starry sky, human beings are still very weak. Any disaster from the universe may bring an end to human civilization. If we want to control our own destiny, we need to constantly strive to develop science and technology until we become a powerful interstellar civilization. At that time, the universe is large enough for us to roam.

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