What If a Supernova Hits Earth?

What If a Supernova Hits Earth?

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Supernovae are the most powerful explosions in the universe, unleashing enough energy to outshine galaxies. We have no real metaphor for their power – if the sun were to magically go supernova it would feel like you were being hit by the energy of a nuclear explosion, every second. For weeks.
While supernovae are the engines of creation, forging the elements that enable life, they also burn sterile whole regions of galaxies. So what would happen if one hit earth?

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35 Responses

  1. Minesh Nissanka says:

    One of the best things about this YouTube channel is that it gives science backed information which isn’t normally accessible, breaks it down to a level where almost anyone can understand, constantly updates us with new research, and gives it to the public for free. Thank you for what you do, Kurzgesagt

  2. JabaJoba says:

    The amount of times humanity could have not existed because of how the galaxy works genuinely blows my mind.

    • Joel Vanwinkle says:

      A supernova is really scary, but theoretically there’s something even worse that could happen. What if a massive star in the galactic core goes supernova, the radiation causing nearby stars to explode. Then those cause other stars to explode and so on in the worst kind of vicious cycle. Eventually you’d have a tsunami of radiation spreading throughout the Milky Way.

    • Primmakin Sofis says:

      The universe is implacably hostile to complex life. Any number of things can quickly extinguish such life. (Supernovae are just the start; read up on cosmic ray jets and gamma ray bursts for potential galaxy-spanning extinction events.)

      Simple life such as bacteria, being more resilient due to its simplicity, can better withstand the inherent hostility to life the universe’s environment evidently has.

    • Caddy Joey says:

      On the Cosmic calender we are still a baby

    • vkobe vkob says:

      nah, it is more because it only happen once every several hundred million years, so if in 100 million years you dont have to face a planetary threat you are fine to advance your civ 😊

    • Dex says:

      True, though if you look from the perspective of a survivors, it’s guaranteed to survive
      It’s like looking at the odds of winning the lottery ticket vs from the perspective of being the lottery winner, and we are the second group

  3. Veritasium says:

    Great video on supernovae! Amazing that we were both working on the same topic at the same time. I hope everyone knows that these videos take months of lead time for both of us so there is no way one video was inspired by the other or vice versa.

  4. Daniel L says:

    Thanks Kurzgesagt for putting yet another one of my fears to rest. There are so many things we know about these days that sound almost unfathomable in their depth of potential damage. Instead of floating around in my head as another “what if?” scenario, this fear is finally able to shut up. This channel has done so much good for my anxiety, I really can’t say thank you enough.

  5. audiofender says:

    I first discovered Kurzgesagt back in 2015 with their videos on nuclear energy. I remember thinking at the time, “Wow, this channel makes some great content. I hope they end up growing and getting more attention.” Seven years later, my wish has most certainly been fulfilled.

    For years I’ve evangelized this channel to my friends and coworkers as the gold standard of educational content, and I still get giddy when a new video comes out. I’ve purchased dozens of calendars, posters, and journals, and I will happily continue to support this amazing channel. Cheers, Kurzgesagt!

  6. B Mouch says:

    I’m in love with the fact that they’ve been ending their recent videos on a relatively happy note to combat the existential dread they usually inspire.

  7. Soken50 says:

    You shine brighter than a supernova by radiating knowledge to us through stellar visuals 😀
    Keep up the amazing work, you’re a planetary treasure <3

  8. Decreasing_entropy says:

    When the narrator said, “In any case, you can sleep well tonight, under the beautiful night sky”, I had no choice but to look up and admire the sentence, and a smile lit up my face. This is what Kurzgesact does, time and time again, and it just never fails to remind and impress.

  9. aComedicPianist says:

    What I have learned in this video: the atmosphere is highly necessary for life and the ozone layer is the most important layer of it against extinction-causing and life-ending space death rays, but it is also extremely vulnerable at being completely obliterated.

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