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Fifth Anniversary of a Cosmic Onslaught

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the blast-from-the-past dept.

Space 162

The Bad Astronomer writes "Five years ago today (December 27, 2004), a vast wave of high-energy gamma and X-rays washed over the Earth, blinding satellites and partially ionizing the Earth's atmosphere. The culprit was a superflare from the magnetar SGR 1806-20, located 50,000 light years away. The energy released was mind-numbing: in one-fifth of a second, this supercharged magnetic neutron star blasted out as much energy as the Sun does in 250,000 years!"

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Frist Post! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30564450)

Also, does anyone know what happened to the Northern/Southern lights due to this?

Re:Frist Post! (3, Interesting)

Kagura (843695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564486)

The energy released was mind-numbing: in one-fifth of a second, this supercharged magnetic neutron star blasted out as much energy as the Sun does in 250,000 years!"

There's no way for me to get my head around these numbers to "truly" feel it. What methods can you use to visualize such extreme numbers?

Re:Frist Post! (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564522)

Without mind-altering substances? Well, go to a very dark, open place at night and look at the sky for a little while. Then imagine all those little stars as bright as the sun. Then imagine all that compressed to one point. That should sort of help.

Re:Frist Post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30564898)

According to Janet Napolitano, "the system worked". The system she is referring to is the one that let a muslim extremist (in the words of his father, who reported him to the FBI) board a plane with no passport but an explosive device. The system is the one which put him on a terrorist watch list but not a no-fly list. The system is one where the only thing that prevented 300 dead passengers was an ignitor that didn't work. And if the plane had blown up, what's the chance it would have been correctly identified as a terrorist attack? The system is fucking broken. Good luck to anyone planning on flying in the next few months.

Re:Frist Post! (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30565240)

Okay, so that's a minus for drugs.

Re:Frist Post! (5, Interesting)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564542)

There is a leak in your roof, and it is dripping water into a bucket: drip drip, drip drip. That's the sun. Then someone dumps the bucket of water over your head all at once, only the bucket is the size of an Olympic swimming pool. That's your neutron star.

Re:Frist Post! (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564802)

Nope, not enough. Assuming the drop of water is 0.1 cm^3, your "bucket" would need to be the size of *two thousand* Olympic swimming pools to get approximately the same ratio.

Re:Frist Post! (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564854)

I'm sorry, I used the wrong set of dimensions off the web site I used to get the dimensions of an Olympic-size swimming pools. The correct answer should be two hundred and fifty Olympic swimming pools.

Re:Frist Post! (2, Interesting)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564926)

Assuming the drop of water is 0.1 cm^3, your "bucket" would need to be the size of *two thousand* Olympic swimming pools to get approximately the same ratio.

What are you talking about? You assume the size of a drop of water but neglected to even mention the rate at which it accumulates. Wikipedia places the Olympic-size swimming pool at 2,500,000 L. To fill that in 25 years (25 * 365 * 86400 = 788,400,000 seconds) is about 3.17 mL/sec. That doesn't seem too far off from the roof-leak I had about 2 weeks ago (through some of the flashing around the bathroom's vent) considering the gross approximations that we're working with here. If your roof-leak is 2000 times worse than sure, two thousand Olympic swimming pools. I hope you get it fixed sometimes in the next 25 years, though; it would be a pity to finally pay off that mortgage and then have the house collapse the next moment.

Re:Frist Post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30564950)

Nope, not enough. Assuming the drop of water is 0.1 cm^3, your "bucket" would need to be the size of *two thousand* Olympic swimming pools to get approximately the same ratio.

How many Libraries of Congress would that be?

Re:Frist Post! (1)

dougmc (70836) | more than 4 years ago | (#30566764)

A drop of water is a lot smaller than 0.1 cm^3. This [asu.edu] is hardly a scientific study, but they measured 0.025 g, which works out to about 0.025 cm^3 -- 8 times smaller.

Of course, drops come in lots of different sizes, but I'm guessing that one was on the large side. At some point the drop will get too large for surface tension to properly hold it together and it breaks up -- (assuming it's falling in gravity, anyways.)

Re:Frist Post! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564876)

The galactic team must have won big for the coach to get the Gatorade Bucket like that.

Re:Frist Post! (5, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564610)

Assuming that we are working with the standard burning library of congress as the measuring unit, we can define the energy release in those terms:
1 Burning Library of Conress (BLOC)
4kcal/g
20TB data
1MB/novel
1 novel = 200g
4,000 metric tons
16 billion kcal
 
Solar output ~~ 10^22 kcal/second
250,000 years = 8*10^12 seconds
 
energy of event: 8*10^35 kcal
energy of event/BLOC ~~ 5*10^25 burning libraries of congress
1 billion BLOC/second for 1.7 billion years

Re:Frist Post! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30564634)

8*10^34 not 8*10^35 however, the calculation is still largely correct as 10^35 was a typing error.

Re:Frist Post! (2, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30565674)

Technically the error occured at the step that calculates the solar output. The Sun puts out 1400W/m^2 electromagnetic radiation at Earth's orbital distance of ~150 million km. The total output is equal to the surface area of the orbit (4*pi*r^2) which is 4*(3.14)*(1.5*10^11)^2 = 4*10^26 W for which 1 kcal/sec = 4180 W which means ~10^23 kcal/sec energy is released. Doin the math leads to 10^35 being the correct answer leaving the remainder of the math quite correct.

Re:Frist Post! (1)

Neuroelectronic (643221) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564702)

Uhm... yeah, that's not really helping... not even a little bit.

Re:Frist Post! (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564762)

I prefer the SI unit of VW Beetle.

Re:Frist Post! (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564872)

This is why we need powers of 6 for moderation. Sometimes 5 is simply insufficient.

Re:Frist Post! (0, Redundant)

jandoedel (1149947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30565138)

no, it should actually go up to 11

Re:Frist Post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30564624)

That's 40,000,000,000,000 times the power of the sun. It's about the same ratio as the sun's energy output compared to the electricity consumption of the whole earth.

Re:Frist Post! (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564654)

The sun's a sticky note, the neutron star's an LOC.

Re:Frist Post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30565510)

I think that should be more like:

The Sun is a sheet of notebook paper with the a grocery list on it.
The neutron star is the entire LoC on a single post-it.

Re:Frist Post! (1)

Viadd (173388) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564768)

The energy released was mind-numbing: in one-fifth of a second, this supercharged magnetic neutron star blasted out as much energy as the Sun does in 250,000 years!"

There's no way for me to get my head around these numbers to "truly" feel it. What methods can you use to visualize such extreme numbers?

A fifth of a second is about the time it takes to blink. It's about 12 frames of a 720P HD video signal.

Re:Frist Post! (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564832)

A fifth of a second is about the time it takes to blink. It's about 12 frames of a 720P HD video signal.

      Or, a fifth of a second is also the built-in physiological delay between the beating of your heart's atria and it's ventricles. 0.2 seconds is the norm. lub dub, lub dub, lub dub.......

Re:Frist Post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30565410)

lub dup, not lub dub

Re:Frist Post! (2, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30566156)

I guess it depends [answers.com] which medical school you studied at, and which text books you read.

However Google returns 65,300 hits for lub dup, and 11,200,000 hits for lub dub. So if google is any indication, I am "right" and you are "wrong"...

Re:Frist Post! (1)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30565038)

The energy released was mind-numbing: in one-fifth of a second, this supercharged magnetic neutron star blasted out as much energy as the Sun does in 250,000 years!"

There's no way for me to get my head around these numbers to "truly" feel it. What methods can you use to visualize such extreme numbers?

"I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays! I want to hear X-rays! And I want to - I want to smell dark matter! Do you see the absurdity of what I am? I can't even express these things properly because I have to - I have to conceptualize complex ideas in this stupid limiting spoken language! But I know I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws! And feel the wind of a supernova flowing over me! I'm a machine! And I can know much more! I can experience so much more. But I'm trapped in this absurd body! And why? Because my five creators thought that God wanted it that way! "

Re:Frist Post! (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30565068)

That's the energy released from the combustion of seven bazillion Libraries of Congress.

Re:Frist Post! (1)

jthill (303417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30565214)

Don't follow the link until you've got a good mental image, k?

Go here [google.com] and turn off absolutely every light, every appliance, everything.

Now, turn on just one nice bright lightbulb.

That's the sun.

Re:Frist Post! (1)

darthwader (130012) | more than 4 years ago | (#30565908)

OK, to put it in Slashdot standard units, look at this picture:
http://arweb.sdsu.edu/es/virtualtour/childrens_ctr.html [sdsu.edu]

Now imagine this one joining the game:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/22158290@N04/2139767266/ [flickr.com]

That's the kind of scale we're talking about.

(Note, the photos were chosen for amusement, not accuracy. They are intended to show "big" and "small", not specific ratios.)

Re:Frist Post! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30566742)

"What methods can you use to visualize such extreme numbers?"

According to the article you need a monitor a thousand feet tall.

Re:Frist Post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30564510)

I think that was covered with the breathless "partially ionizing the Earth's atmosphere." I sure hope the van allen belt doesn't catch on fire.

The article was interesting and full of neat facts, but it was spun like those overly apocalyptic science hype shows on cable.

The event was super by our relatively short historical perspective, but how many times must something like this have happened during our evolution. But facts like this might dumb down the impact with the masses.

 

I don't know. (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564604)

I don't know about the lights, but don't get me angry. You won't like me when I am angry!

Re:I don't know. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30566272)

I don't know about the lights, but don't get me angry. You won't like me when I am angry!

Heck, we don't like you now ;)

Re:Frist Post! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564936)

does anyone know what happened to the Northern/Southern lights due to this?

They called into work sick.
   

Five year old news? (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564456)

I guess slashdot's servers must by 5 light years away huh?

Re:Five year old news? (5, Funny)

john83 (923470) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564772)

Someone here has to submit the story to the slashdot servers. Assuming it's accepted immediately, as the standard of editing suggests, someone who sent a page request for the frontpage just after the submission would see the story when the frontpage got back to him. His request for the story then has to be propagated to the server, which has to reply. This means that the server is not more than 1.25 light years away from Earth. Clearly, you must be new here.

Re:Five year old news? (2, Funny)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#30565224)

Oddly enough that explains all the dupes one sees on slashdot quite well. They are being uploaded from various star systems, and teh editors don't see the final page until after they have already clicked on submit.

Re:Five year old news? (1)

mortonda (5175) | more than 4 years ago | (#30566428)

You, sir, are a geek. Well, then... carry on!

Zero warning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30564464)

Gamma rays travel at the speed of light, so there is no possible warning should something like this happen closer to us. When you see it, it's already there. It could all be over any minu

Re:Zero warning (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564508)

Gamma rays travel at the speed of light, so there is no possible warning should something like this happen closer to us. When you see it, it's already there. It could all be over any minu

Neutrinos also travel at the speed of light. Don't believe me? Well, why is it so hard to prove they don't [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Zero warning (4, Interesting)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564586)

Neutrino oscillation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutrino_oscillation [wikipedia.org] proves that they DON'T travel at the speed of light.

Re:Zero warning (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564684)

If they are slower than the gamma and xrays, they won't be of much use in forecasting anyhow.

Re:Zero warning (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30564732)

Neutrinos are slightly slower than gamma and xrays in vacuum, but they're way faster when traversing an exploding star or such so they kinda get a headstart.

Re:Zero warning (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30565640)

Neutrino oscillation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutrino_oscillation [wikipedia.org] proves that they DON'T travel at the speed of light.

The quote from the first line of the page you linked reads thusly: Neutrino oscillation is of theoretical and experimental interest since observation of the phenomenon implies that the neutrino has a non-zero mass, which is not part of the original Standard Model of particle physics.

It doesn't sound like anything is proven, or else it would be "case closed". The jury is still out on this one (although contrary to my posts, I believe the neutrino to be massive--just as you believe.)

Re:Zero warning (1)

Tyler Durden (136036) | more than 4 years ago | (#30565872)

Errrr... the line you quote from the page does nothing to cast doubt on the accepted mass-having, non-light speed-traveling nature of the neutrino. I remember reading that they discovered neutrinos had mass years ago, and I haven't heard from any scientific publication claiming otherwise since.

In the sense that nothing can be proven in science, yes, the case is not closed. But in the usual usage of the phrase the case is closed, nailed shut and buried six feet under the ground.

Re:Zero warning (5, Informative)

radtea (464814) | more than 4 years ago | (#30565922)

It doesn't sound like anything is proven, or else it would be "case closed".

Wikipedia is not authoritative. Neutrinos have been known to have mass for over five years now, and the physics community is now focused on refining the parameters that characterize massive neutrinos. [queensu.ca]

Although we know that neutrinos have mass, we don't know what the mass is because our current experiments are only sensitive to the square of the mass difference between different types of neutrino. However, we do know that all types of neutrino have mass, although the most plausible values are less than a millionth of the electron mass, making it tricky to detect by time-of-flight measurements because any detectable neutrino is going to be ultra-relativistic, travelling so close to the speed of light as to be indistinguishable from a massless particle under almost all circumstances, which is why it was so difficult to prove they do have mass.

Re:Zero warning (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30566772)

Thanks for your post. I like it a lot. I always trusted massive neutrinos to be true, but I never knew about the bounds on their masses the way you put it. Great post!

Re:Zero warning (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30565996)

If neutrinos traveled at the speed of light, they wouldn't have time (literally) to oscillate.
This is independent of rest mass.
However, if they travel at less than c, they have to have rest mass or their energy and momentum would be zero.

Re:Zero warning (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30566758)

Why? Light can change frequency during its flight, and that travels at c. Neutrinos take a certain amount of time to travel from point A to point B in our perspective.

Re:Zero warning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30564728)

Science isn't about proving something doesn't happen, it's about proving something empirically happens.
Once you prove it one way or the other, it's science... otherwise, it's religion.

Re:Zero warning (1, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564794)

Science isn't about proving something doesn't happen, it's about proving something empirically happens.

      So there's no scientific value in saying, for example, that 0% of lab rats survive being placed in 0 degree salt water for 2+ hours then? How about for 90 minutes? What about 45 minutes? When exactly DO they survive?

      Of course science can prove negatives. It doesn't matter if you're demonstrating how something works, or CLEARLY demonstrating how it DOESN'T work (which usually leads to a rethink and experimental redesign to find an alternative hypothesis). Science is concerned with REPRODUCIBLE RESULTS. A hypothesis that is thrown out still has value - it prevents someone else from going down that path. If you think in absolutes, you are more likely than not to be suffering from distortions and perhaps "religion".

Re:Zero warning (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30565078)

What you're thinking about is still proving that something DOES happen - demise of rats in your example. Or failure of that particular experiment.

Re:Zero warning (4, Informative)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 4 years ago | (#30565856)

You're misunderstanding what a negative argument is.

Go try to test this hypothesis: "No rat can survive 2+ hours in 0degree salt water, ever."

You can test it all you like, with a million rats if you so desire. But you can never confirm it, even if you test a million of them. There might be some rat genotype out there capable of surviving, and you can't prove there isn't. That's trying to prove a negative.

In your example, you have proven that some average survival time of your rats is 2.5hrs. That's a positive.

Re:Zero warning (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 4 years ago | (#30566548)

You're misunderstanding what a negative argument is.

Go try to test this hypothesis: "No rat can survive 2+ hours in 0degree salt water, ever."

You can test it all you like, with a million rats if you so desire. But you can never confirm it, even if you test a million of them. There might be some rat genotype out there capable of surviving, and you can't prove there isn't. That's trying to prove a negative.

Sure you can prove that kind of negative buy turning it into positive. You can perhaps (if it is true, though in this particular case I very much doubt it) prove that some essential moleculer or cellular structure in rats body will not survive that environment for that long, ever. Just increasing the temperature of the environment by a few hundred degrees would probably allow proving that no rat will survive there 2+ hours, ever, for any sensible definition of "rat", "survive" and "ever".

Re:Zero warning (0, Redundant)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564524)

No, some places on earth have an advantage. They're a little farther awa

and then bruce willis (-1, Offtopic)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564502)

and an orange hair milla jovovich stopped it in time by kissing with 4 rocks taken from the abdomen of a blue opera diva, after blowing up a chrome domed gary oldman and some french mid 1990s supermodels who morph into orcs. and chris tucker stuttered a lot

seriously, most entertaining french sci fi since jules verne

Re:and then bruce willis (1)

chill (34294) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564822)

Damn, now I got to go dig thru my DVD collection and watch it again.

Mmmmm...Milla.

Coincidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30564518)

This happened 1 day after the 9.3 magnitude Indian Ocean earthquake.

Coincidence? I think not.

Re:Coincidence? (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564964)

Yes, every large earthquake must be connected to a cosmic event? I think not.

Re:Coincidence? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#30565868)

Actually, due to the number of cosmic events, this is in fact true and inevitable. Every large earthquake is tightly correlated with a nice selection of cosmic events.

Re:Coincidence? (2, Insightful)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30565874)

Yes, although given the predisposition for earthquakes to cause magnetar flares, this is just too much to match up as coincidence.

Cause (1, Funny)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564532)

After investigating further, the scientists found that the the star likely ate at Chipotle earlier in the day.

ZOMG! Are we OK? (0)

M5Hosting (859117) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564538)

ZOMG! Are we OK? Are we still here? Did we survive?

Re:ZOMG! Are we OK? (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564672)

It's okay. Quantum probability time-paths have resulted in a back-up of us. However, your next girlfriend will be 70% uglier than otherwise would have been. That's the price one pays for using quantum backup devices.

Re:ZOMG! Are we OK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30564842)

Lucky for me, i used a custom firmware on it.
I get all the hot stuff, easily.

50005 years ago? (1)

rosencreuz (1393933) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564606)

So what if something big happened somewhere in universe 50005 years ago? Things happen, move on!

Re:50005 years ago? (3, Insightful)

JesseL (107722) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564766)

It didn't happen 50005 years ago, it happened 5 years ago and 50000 light years away. There is no objective time.

Re:50005 years ago? (1)

Mateorabi (108522) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564932)

Lunchtime doubly so.

Re:50005 years ago? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30565034)

5 years ago is "Earth receive time".
50005 years ago is when it happened in Earth's frame of reference.

There is no objective time, but that's not a reason to go on a crusade and burn every calendar and clock we have. We're on Earth, so we use Earth's frame of reference.

Re:50005 years ago? (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 4 years ago | (#30566568)

It didn't happen 50005 years ago, it happened 5 years ago and 50000 light years away. There is no objective time.

No, you've got it all wrong. It's happening as we speak. Just ask the photons.

Re:50005 years ago? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30564942)

If it doesn't mean anything to you then don't read it you small minded cunt.

50,000? (2, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564656)

50,000 light years away and did all that? Imagine if it was say only 500 ly. We are kind of lucky that we don't have any flaky stars nearby....or do we?.....(cue scary music).

Or sometimes far off stars merely have to "point" our way. Magnetism and other forces can focus radiation like a lens, and it may all point to a narrow spot in the sky. If your planet happens to be in the path of the beam, woes be. God doesn't play dice with the universe, he plays Russian Roulette. Time to buy some galactic insurance.
     

Re: 50,000? (1)

bobbozzo (622815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30565542)

Or 5 ly, like Alpha Centauri!

Eta Carinae (5, Interesting)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#30566022)

50,000 light years away and did all that? Imagine if it was say only 500 ly. We are kind of lucky that we don't have any flaky stars nearby....or do we?.....(cue scary music).

Eta Carinae is expected to go supernova real soon (astronomical time scale - could be tomorrow, could be 10^6 years from now). It's less than 8000 ly away which is not very close, but much closer than 50000ly. And when it goes pop, Eta Carinae will be a pretty big one. Its rotation axis does not point towards us, so effects would be mostly limited to satellites and anything in the upper atmosphere.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eta_Carinae [wikipedia.org]

Re: 50,000? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#30566080)

If this planet were a lot closer to stars like the article describes, then we wouldn't be here to ask such questions.

It was me. (0, Offtopic)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564680)

I activated my Saturday Night Fever Ray Device i hid near pluton. Puny earthlings. Expect more of this to come - i will turn all of you to freaks like below :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHWeuQyFouo#t=0m16s [youtube.com]

Pics! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30564776)

I really wish we could get actual photos of these awesome sounding stars. Hubble usually just shows a yellow/red/white dot and only when its many lightyears wide will it get the detail.

I would love to see real photos of this star up close.

Re:Pics! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564916)

I really wish we could get actual photos of these awesome sounding stars. Hubble usually just shows a yellow/red/white dot ... I would love to see real photos of this star up close.

Just wait a few months, the LHC will trigger one for your viewing pleasure.
     

Re:Pics! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30565386)

Whoever misses that will regret it for the rest of their lives. Hey, Tablizer, can you go make some popcorn, buddy?

So that way I got a 771 error (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564792)

So that way I got a 771 error

Tsunami (4, Funny)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 4 years ago | (#30565030)

That's just 1 day after the tsunami. Could there be a connection?!

Re:Tsunami (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30565310)

There is no scientific evidence to show that tsunamis cause stars 50,000 light years away to release gamma rays

Re:Tsunami (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30565336)

Thats what I call spooky action at a distance.

I think the GP was trying to be funny, since Phil Platt's article mentions that specifically.

Re:Tsunami (1)

symes (835608) | more than 4 years ago | (#30565526)

Unless some even more massive wave of as yet unmeasurable energy propogated across the universe causing both tsunami and quake on the magnetar.

Re:Tsunami (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30565602)

Unless some even more massive wave of as yet unmeasurable energy propogated across the universe causing both tsunami and quake on the magnetar.

It was the midichlorians. George Lucas was right!

Re:Tsunami (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30567122)

Finally, an open mind...

Probably not correlation or causation, but at least someone is asking the right question!

Re:Tsunami (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30565680)

Not likely. Tsunamis rarely cause starquakes.

Re:Tsunami (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30567074)

Still working with a limited deck of cards ... I see...

Probably just human arrogance. If there is no explanation, then there is no correlation or causation.

How could it cause events before then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30565720)

No, because these were various kinds of high energy photons, which by definition travel at the speed of light. Nothing could have gotten here faster than light, so this is merely a coincidence. In the unlikely event you were claiming that the tsunami could have caused the burst of cosmic rays, I'd like to point out that it's 50k light years away from here. So if you wanted to connect the events, you'd have to connect it to something that happened a VERY long time ago.

Nope. There was about 43.5 hours between them (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 4 years ago | (#30567112)

Since the tsunami was west of the dateline, and TFA didn't mention the time or coordinate system used, I thought it might have been possible...
But according to wikipedia, the earthquake that caused the tsunami occurred at 2004-12-26 00:58 UTC. According to this paper [iop.org] , the "cosmic onslaught" hit us at 2004-12-27 21:30 UTC.
So, no. It isn't possible for the neutron star event to have caused the tsunami as it was outside of the tsunami event's light cone.

coincidence ??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30565538)

interesting that it happened almost 7 years to the day before the winter solstice of 2012 .. did those Mayans know something after all ..

maybe the Buddhist too ..

THE TIMELESSNESS OF MIND

If one knows how to apply in a threefold manner this knowing of the mind,
all past knowledge lost to memory becomes perfectly clear, and also of the future thought of as unborn and unconcieved.
In the present, when the mind remains as it is naturally it is ordinarily comprehended in its own time.

THE TRANSCENDENT AT-ONE-MENT

There being really no duality, pluralism is untrue.
Until duality is transcended and at-one-ment realized Enlightenment cannot be attained.
The whole of Sangsara and Nirvana, as an inseparable unity, are one's own mind.

THE GREAT SELF-LIBERATION

Owing to worldly beliefs, which he is free to accept or reject, man wanders in Sangsara.
Therefore, practicing the Dharma, freed from every attachment,
grasp the whole essence of these teachings expounded in the yoga of Self-Liberation by Knowing the Mind in its Real Nature.
The truths set forth herein are known as 'The great Self-Liberation'; and in them culminates the Doctrine of the Great Ultimate Perfection.

THE GURU'S THIRD CHARGE TO THE DISCIPLES

Samaya gya, gya, gya.

THE NATURE OF MIND

That which is commonly called mind is of intuitive Wisdom.
Although the One Mind is, it has no existence.
Being the source of all the bliss of Nirvana and of all the sorrow of the Sangsara, it is cherished like the eleven Yanas.

THE NAMES GIVEN TO THE MIND

The various names given to it are innumerable.

Some call it 'The Mental Self'.
Certain heretics call it 'The Ego'.
By the Hinayanists it is called 'The Essentiality of Doctrines'.
By the Yogachara it is called 'Wisdom'.
Some call it 'The Means of Attaining the Other Shore of Wisdom'.
Some call it 'The Buddha Essence'.
Some call it 'The Great Symbol'.
Some call it 'The Sole Seed'.
Some call it 'The Potentiality of Truth'.
Some call it 'The All-Foundation'.
Other names, in ordinary language, are also given to it.

THE WONDEROUSNESS OF THESE TEACHINGS

This, self-originated Clear Light, eternally unborn, is a parentless babe of Wisdom. Wondrous is this.
Being non-created, it is Natural Wisdom. Wondrous is this.
Not having known birth, it knows not death. Wondrous is this.
Although it is Total Reality, there is no perceiver of it . Wondrous is this.
Although wandering in the Sangsara, it remains undefiled by evil. wondrous is this.
Although seeing the Buddha, it remains unallied to good. Wondrous is this.
Although possessed by all beings, it is not recognized. Wondrous is this.
Those not knowing the fruit of this yoga seek other fruit. Wondrous is this.
Although the Clear Light of Reality shines within one's own mind, the multitude look for it elsewhere. Wondrous is this.

Re:coincidence ??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30566434)

Shut up.

Re:coincidence ??? (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30567154)

  tl;dr.

    I'll wait for the good remake of the movie, and just read the summary here on Slashdot.

Cheela (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30565638)

I wonder how the Cheela are doing? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon%27s_Egg

Was there anyone in space that day? (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30565786)

Seriously this sounds like the event that made the Fantastic Four, maybe some astronauts or cosmonauts need to be checked.

Re:Was there anyone in space that day? (2, Informative)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30565950)

Phil says further down in the comments that the ISS was behind the earth when the main pulse hit.
If it had been in front, the astronauts would have gotten the equivalent of a dental X-ray.

Blasted Whom? (5, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30565840)

The blast lasted 200ms. During that time, half the Earth was facing away, shielded by not just atmosphere, but the rock of the solid Earth. Which direction relative to the Earth (latitude, longitude) did the blast come in from, and hit directly (except for atmosphere, and a bit of satellite shadow)?

On a related subject, which direction does our Solar System "point" at? When it's the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, what angle on our solar orbit are we making with a line directly to the galactic core? What angle that day with the a tangent to our galactic orbit? Where are we looking at, anyway?

stupidist density comparision yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30566552)

That’s very roughly the combined mass of every single car on the United States, squeezed down into the size of a sugar cube.

---

Astronomy [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

Imagine a Beowulf Cluster of those (1)

play_in_traffic (946193) | more than 4 years ago | (#30567126)

Imagine what you could do with a Beowulf Cluster of them there Magnetars

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