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Space Science

Fifth Anniversary of a Cosmic Onslaught 162

The Bad Astronomer writes "Five years ago today (December 27, 2004), a vast wave of high-energy gamma and X-rays washed over the Earth, blinding satellites and partially ionizing the Earth's atmosphere. The culprit was a superflare from the magnetar SGR 1806-20, located 50,000 light years away. The energy released was mind-numbing: in one-fifth of a second, this supercharged magnetic neutron star blasted out as much energy as the Sun does in 250,000 years!"
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Fifth Anniversary of a Cosmic Onslaught

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  • Re:Zero warning (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 27, 2009 @02:31PM (#30564732)

    Neutrinos are slightly slower than gamma and xrays in vacuum, but they're way faster when traversing an exploding star or such so they kinda get a headstart.

  • by JesseL (107722) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @02:36PM (#30564766) Homepage Journal

    It didn't happen 50005 years ago, it happened 5 years ago and 50000 light years away. There is no objective time.

  • Re:Zero warning (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @02:41PM (#30564794)

    Science isn't about proving something doesn't happen, it's about proving something empirically happens.

          So there's no scientific value in saying, for example, that 0% of lab rats survive being placed in 0 degree salt water for 2+ hours then? How about for 90 minutes? What about 45 minutes? When exactly DO they survive?

          Of course science can prove negatives. It doesn't matter if you're demonstrating how something works, or CLEARLY demonstrating how it DOESN'T work (which usually leads to a rethink and experimental redesign to find an alternative hypothesis). Science is concerned with REPRODUCIBLE RESULTS. A hypothesis that is thrown out still has value - it prevents someone else from going down that path. If you think in absolutes, you are more likely than not to be suffering from distortions and perhaps "religion".

  • Re:Coincidence? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mitchell314 (1576581) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @04:54PM (#30565874)
    Yes, although given the predisposition for earthquakes to cause magnetar flares, this is just too much to match up as coincidence.
  • Re:Frist Post! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @05:32PM (#30566156)

    I guess it depends [] which medical school you studied at, and which text books you read.

    However Google returns 65,300 hits for lub dup, and 11,200,000 hits for lub dub. So if google is any indication, I am "right" and you are "wrong"...

  • Re:Frist Post! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Yamata no Orochi (1626135) on Monday December 28, 2009 @09:53AM (#30571050)

    Meme regurgitation is really only ever funny if you use them correctly.

If a subordinate asks you a pertinent question, look at him as if he had lost his senses. When he looks down, paraphrase the question back at him.