Spoiler answer: perhaps not mass-extinction deadly, at least in terms of ground-level ozone, but still really bad (about 10 ppb vs. a lethal level of 30 ppb for ozone)
Originally shared by SETI Institute
How Deadly Would a Nearby Gamma Ray Burst Be?
Gamma ray bursts (GRBs) are the brightest electromagnetic blasts known to occur in the Universe, and can originate from the collapse of the most massive types of stars or from the collision of two neutron stars. Supernovae are stellar explosions that also can send harmful radiation hurtling towards Earth. Both GRBs and supernovae are usually observed in distant galaxies, but can pose a threat if they occur closer to home, where they can strip the Earth’s upper atmosphere of its protective ozone layer leaving life exposed to harmful ultraviolet radiation from the Sun.
A new paper, titled “Ground-Level Ozone Following Astrophysical Ionizing Radiation Events – An Additional Biological Hazard?” published in the journal Astrobiology took a look at the ramifications of a nearby GRB or supernova and the effects on life. The research was funded by the Exobiology and Evolutionary Biology element of the NASA Astrobiology Program.
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