Nearby Star Could Doom Earth, Scientists Warn

... in 10 million years
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2010 4:45 AM CST
T Pyxidis will someday self-destruct with the force of 20 billion billion billion megatons of TNT, astronomers say.    (NASA)

(Newser) – The T Pyxidis binary star system is a lot closer than earlier believed, and that could be very bad news for Earthlings, according to a team of astronomers. One of its stars is a white dwarf set to become a Type 1A supernova—10 million times stronger than a regular supernova—and the explosion 3,260 light years away could be strong enough to strip our planet of its ozone layers, making it uninhabitable.

The star will briefly become brighter than all the other stars in the galaxy put together as it self-destructs, Scientific American reports. Pictures taken by the Hubble space telescope indicate that the star will go supernova soon, the astronomers say, although they stress that in the context of a star's life span, "soon" likely means in 10 million years.

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