One of the commenters on my answer to https://worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/a/86733/3460 questions that the blast would even have a noticeable impact if that supernova was in Alpha Centauri. And since my answer is just based on my intuition, I would like to figure that out.

So radiation put aside, what would the blast of SN 1006 be like for earth when arriving, supposed it went supernova just 4 light-years away?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Its the radiation that does the damage! $\endgroup$ – James K Jul 24 '17 at 16:01
  • $\begingroup$ @JamesK^: I know, thats why I said radiation aside. Since otherwise everyone would say "dont care about the blast". I know that the radiation is the problem, anyway I want to know whats the impact of the blast. $\endgroup$ – Zaibis Jul 24 '17 at 16:15

Last week, a paper was posted on arxiv (https://arxiv.org/abs/1707.04253v1) which studies the "The Resilience of Life to Astrophysical Events", in particular it deals with the temperature change of oceans (as boiling oceans would evaporate the water of a planet which seems to be bad for biological life forms...). For a assumed SN explosion of Proxima Centauri the temperature change of Earth oceans would only be 0.1 degree Celsius - not enough to extinct life by boiling the oceans.

enter image description here

(extract from Sloan, Batista and Loeb, 2017)

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It sounds to me like the paper is refering to the diferent waves ariving with c rather than the atomic remnant impact, which I'm interested in. (But I'm just a layman, so dunno...) Could you explain me, what of the quoted part indicates that my assumption is wrong? $\endgroup$ – Zaibis Jul 25 '17 at 6:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Zaibis I'm not really sure what you mean by "atomic remnant impact", but the calculations in the aforementioned paper are a upper limit to the damage done to Earth when a) assuming the total energy is converted into the shock wave (which is not the case, so the real damage will be lower) and b) that the most threatening damage besides the obvious radiation problems is the temperature increase (this is an assumption made in the paper, I'm not competent enough in biology to judge this). This does not disprove you, just tells that we won't be boiled by your supernova. $\endgroup$ – samcarter_is_at_topanswers.xyz Jul 25 '17 at 11:54
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, I try to put it in diferent words. (All I state here is my actual knowledge, so if I'm wrong, things might be diferent) When a star goes supernova, it pushes matter away from it like any "general" explosion. So there is actually an shock wave and all the matter it pushes ahead. This shockwave will arrive much later then the visual indication light, since it travels with only 10% speed of light. While radiation travels with speed of light. So I'm not interested in the visual impacts (from light, as the radiation or as I udnerstand the paper, the global warming due to .... $\endgroup$ – Zaibis Jul 26 '17 at 8:53
  • $\begingroup$ the energy transported by the light), but I'm interested in the event of the actual expanding explosion ariving. I might misunderstand the quoted part and thats actual what it quotes, but to me it seems like the paper considers "radiation aside" more like what other effects would light have as i.e. global warming, but it still considers the expanding like and not the actual blast of the explosion. $\endgroup$ – Zaibis Jul 26 '17 at 8:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The quoted excerpt from the paper starts with "The bulk of the energy output of a supernova is carried by the shock wave." So it's answering your question directly. (In fact, the except says, "Let's overestimate the effect of the shock wave by adding the energy from the light to it ...") $\endgroup$ – Peter Erwin Aug 1 '17 at 11:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.