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Black hole wiped out all alien life?

News18test sharma |

Updated: March 24, 2011, 4:35 PM IST
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Black hole wiped out all alien life?
A phenomenon known as a white dwarf hypernova could have sucked alien life.

London: A phenomenon known as a white dwarf hypernova could have sucked alien life into a black hole.

Scientists have been long baffled how despite years of searching there has been no evidence of life beyond our planet.

But now some astronomers believe the answer may lie in the destructive force of exploding stars - and claim ET (extraterrestrial) may simply have been wiped out.

Hypernovas are essentially massive supernovas, or giant exploding stars, with a mass of between 100 and 300 times that of the sun.

And because this process, when an exceptionally large white dwarf star, a collapsed remnant of an elderly star, becomes unstable and explodes, has occurred several times over millions of years, it is possible that life may have wiped out more than once, the Daily Mail reports.

Scientists also believe there is a possibility that life on earth too could be wiped out by the process of gamma ray bursts. Intense gamma radiation produces nitrous oxides that could perhaps destroy the ozone layer.

They call the lack of evidence of alien life the 'Great Silence'.

Edward Sion from Villanova University in Pennsylvania, US, said it is possible that this could occur 'soon' on the timescales familiar to astronomers, according to a Pennsylvania release.

If the collapsing star has a mass exceeding at least 0.7 suns, the explosion will cause a permanent black hole, a gap in the gallaxy that can swallow up life around it, including alien life.

This is produced by gravitational collapse and is the inward fall of the star's body due to force of the explosion. A hypernova could cause serious harm to the earth. But no known hypergiant is located close enough to our planet to pose a direct threat.

First Published: March 24, 2011, 4:35 PM IST
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