Study: Exploding star 65 light years away from the Earth can trigger a mass extinction

Fareeha Arshad
Photo byPhoto by NASA on Unsplash

During the late Devonian period, more than 350 million years ago, our planet experienced one of the greatest mass extinctions ever. Researchers believe that the reason behind this mass extinction lies far outside our Solar System.

According to a new research study published in the journal “PNAS”, researchers suggest that the reason behind the mass extinction was a dying star that exploded at the far end of the galaxy – several light years away from our planet.

Previously, a few scientists believed that the late Devonian extinction could have been because of a natural calamity like a severe volcanic eruption that could have wiped out all living beings on the planet. Some also suggest that an asteroid collision, similar to the one that wiped out the dinosaur population, could be the reason behind the mass extinction.

However, in a recent study, scientists have concluded that life on Earth is not secluded and may experience unavoidable ripple effects from factors that lay several light years away from us. Though this is the first time such a scientific explanation has been put forward, researchers have speculated on this possibility for quite some time.

In the study, scientists have observed that the drastic ozone depletion around the same time as the Late Devonian extinction was not because of volcanic eruption or global warming. Instead, the strong radiation effects from a supernova over 65 light years away from the Earth could be a possible reason behind the Earth’s ozone layer depletion. Researchers believe that supernovae give out lethal UV, gamma, and X-rays that can lead to mass extinction.

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I am a scientist by profession and a historian by passion. I mostly write about history and science.

Texas State

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