Reconocemos: hay fanáticos para todo y el cine catástrofe no es una excepción. Pero hay algunos a los que no solo le gusta ver estas películas en la gran pantalla, sino que por interés, conocimiento o simple curiosidad, buscan escribir el guión de la siguiente hecatombe. El astrónomo Daniel Brown, es uno de ellos. Y, basándose en sus conocimientos, ha seleccionado las seis catástrofes cósmicas

que nos podrían llevar al otro barrio. Como dice el autor en la publicación: Feliz lectura.

Fulguraciones solares

En 1859 nuestro planeta experimentó la tormenta solar magnética más potente hasta la fecha. Se conoce como Evento Carrington y provocó una enorme interferencia en todo el equipo electrónico, más bien escaso, que existía en aquellos tiempos. Pero este tipo de tormentas se puede repetir y nuestra dependencia de la electricidad actualmente es enorme, tanto que un evento similar no solo nos dejaría sin comunicaciones también puede abandonarnos a nuestra suerte en cuanto a calefacción, refrigeración, los alimentos se echarían a perder…Es cierto no nos mataría, pero en el largo plazo se convertiría en un desafío de grandes proporciones.

En julio de 2012, un satélite de la Nasa detectó una tormenta, de similares proporciones al evento Carrington, muy cerca de nuestra órbita. “Si se hubiera cruzado en nuestra trayectoria – afirmó a la Nasa,  Daniel Baker, especialista en meteorología de la Universidad de Colorado –, aún estaríamos recogiendo los pedazos. ¿Cuantas tormentas de estas proporciones pasan cerca de nuestro planeta? Eso es algo que debemos saber”.

Impacto de asteroide

Uno de ellos contribuyó, en gran medida, a la extinción de los dinosaurios, así que ¿qué impide que nos ocurra a nosotros? Teniendo en cuenta las probabilidades, la Nasa ya se ha puesto en marcha para crear estrategias defensivas contra estas bombas. Puede que el impacto no nos afecte directamente, pero sus consecuencias, tsunamis, fuego, cambio climático, si no pondrían en serio peligro.

Expansión solar

A medida que nuestra estrella envejezca y en su camino hacia su futuro como enana blanca, se expandirá cada vez más y se hará más fría. Llegará a tener un tamaño tal que engullirá a Mercurio primero y luego a Venus. Luego nos tocará a nosotros que caeremos en su fría (bueno, todo lo fría que puede ser una estrella) masa. Lo bueno es que para que esto suceda aún nos quedan más de 7.500 millones de años. Para entonces puede que nosotros mismos hayamos terminado con el planeta.

Explosión de rayos gamma

Las explosiones de rayos gamma son como los ojos láser de Superman…pero a nivel cósmico.

Los producen estrellas de un sistema binario o supernovas y generan una enorme cantidad de energía que, por si fuera poco, se concentra en una zona muy precisa y dura apenas unos instantes. Estos eventos tienen el potencial para destruir la capa de ozono de nuestro planeta y dejarnos dentro de un invernadero de acero en pleno agosto murciano: nos asaríamos. Los astrónomos han descubierto un sistema estelar, WR 104, que podría generar una explosión de rayos gamma. Lo bueno es que no sabemos cuándo ocurrirá. Lo malo es que la distancia a la que se encuentra el sistema, unos 7.000 años luz, no son suficientes para librarnos de sus efectos. Hala, a disfrutar.

Supernovas cercanas

Son las primas cercanas de las explosiones de rayos gamma. Visualmente más bonitas, pero igual de letales. En promedio, ocurren una o dos veces cada cien años y cerca del centro de nuestra galaxia. Por suerte nos encontramos un poco lejos de este epicentro (a unos 26.000 años luz), pero la estrella Betelgeuse,  también llamada Orionis, se encuentra “apenas” a 650 años luz de nosotros. Y tiene todas las papeletas para convertirse en supernova. Lo malo es que puede ocurrir mañana o en un millón de años. Lo bueno es que tiene que estar a 50 años luz para que la radiación nos achicharre.

Estrellas errantes

La Tierra gira alrededor del Sol, pero este también se desplaza por la vía Láctea, nosotros, fieles cachorrillos de su calor, lo seguimos. Los viento solares y los campos magnéticos solares forman una suerte de burbuja, la heliosfera, que nos protege de los malos, como estrellas errantes que se acerquen demasiado al Sol y comiencen a interactuar con él. Esta protección se debe en parte a que, ahora mismo, el camino de nuestra estrella discurre por una zona de, como diría Dorothy: ladrillos amarillos. Pero en breve nos encontraremos en una región más compleja que incrementará el cambio climático, dificultando o imposibilitando directamente, la vida en la Tierra. Pero para ello faltan entre 20.000 y 50.000 años.

Fuente: Quo

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