Gamma ray burst may have caused mass extinction
Washington: Gamma ray burst, which occurred in a colossal group of stars called a globular cluster may have triggered a mass extinction on Earth 440 million years ago, according to a German researcher.
According to Wilfried Domainko of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany, globular cluster hosts many pairs of dead stars that might merge.
Based on the number of star clusters in the Milky Way and the rate of gamma-ray bursts in them, Domainko estimated that one probably exploded within striking distance of Earth at least once in the past billion years, New Scientist reported.
The European Space Agency’s Gaia star-mapper, which will most likely be launched in 2013, could help in tracking the guilty cluster down.
Gaia will identify the position and speed of such clusters, to enable the scientists to see if there is any coincide with extinctions.