Re: Recently Discovered Cosmic Blast May Be Biggest Since Big

George Murphy (
Thu, 07 May 1998 11:49:02 -0400

Wendee HOLTCAMP wrote:
> At 09:32 AM 5/7/98 -0500, you wrote:
> >May 7, 1998
> >
> >Recently Discovered Cosmic Blast May Be Biggest Since Big Bang
> >
> I'm curious of two things
> (1) Is it possible that a similar "burster" is what killed of the
> dinosaurs? Is there any type of evidence scientists would look for to test
> this hypothesis?

Not this sort of cosmic explosion, but it has been suggested
(e.g., by the Russian astrophysicist Shlovsky [Sp?] in his book on
supernovas) that mass extinctions could have been caused by the earth
passing through a cloud of supernova debris with its associated X-rays
&c - a process which would have taken 1000s of years. But their seems
to be clearer evidence for the meteorite scenario in the case of the

> (2) Why if the actual explosion was first noted on Dec 14 is this "breaking
> news" in May??

The first news about this was announced a good deal earlier (it
was in _Physics Today_ a few months ago) but (I think) details about the
source weren't known at that time. (The existence of gamma ray bursts
has been a puzzle for about 30 years now.)

> Wendee
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> Wendee Holtcamp -- GREENDESIGN Communications
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George L. Murphy