Nearby White Dwarf could threaten 10 MY

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More AAS results: ... rnova.html

WASHINGTON — A massive, eruptive white dwarf star in the Milky Way — long overdue for its next periodic eruption — is closer to our solar system than previously thought and could threaten the Earth if it fully explodes millions of years from now.

New observations of the white dwarf and its sun-like stellar companion are giving scientists a better understanding of the star's precarious position as a possible supernova, astronomers said here today at the 215th meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

The two stars are in a close binary system called T Pyxidis, located in the Southern Hemisphere constellation Pyxis ("The Compass Box"). Researchers found that the system is only 3,260 light-years from our solar system – far closer than anyone previously thought. (A light-year is the distance that light travels in one Earth year, or about 6 trillion miles.)

The new findings suggest the white dwarf, considered close to us by cosmic standards, could eventually go supernova. Gamma radiation emitted by the supernova could threaten the Earth with an energy equivalent to 1,000 simultaneous solar flares.

The production of nitrous oxides in Earth's atmosphere by the gamma rays could completely destroy the ozone layer, astronomers said.

Demise, if it comes, won't be anytime soon, however: Scientists' calculations suggest that the star will explode in about 10 million years, said Edward Sion, a member of the research team from Villanova University in Villanova, Pa.


It could also happen sooner that that, if it acquires sufficient mass.
There are many further interesting points in the article.

It had been exploding in a certain manner every twenty years... until the last time, and it's
now overdue.

How far was it thought to have been before they changed their mind about how close it is?


Oh boy, something new for the doomsday crowd to lock onto.
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