Sunday, July 04, 2010

"2012: Supernova" mixes apples and oranges on SyFy

On Saturday, July 3, the SyFy Channel tried to “warn” us, or perhaps just “entertain us”, with a film from “The Asylum” (not “The Factory”) and director Anthiny Fankhauser, “2012: Supernova”. Now the title of that movie concatenates the titles of two much better films (without the help of a java string operator, thank you), and the precept is pretty silly. The scientist is hiding a government secret: that a Supernova will soon destroy the earth with climate change and electromagnetic storms.

It’s not clear where the Supernova is, but the closest possible one would be over 1000 light years away. But a supernova that far away could fry the planet with a gamma ray burst, and there would be nothing we could do about it. This may have happened once, about four billion years ago.

The government plans some high altitude nuclear bursts to deflect the radiation, a silly idea; in fact, what such bursts would probably do is fry a lot of the Earth’s electronics with an electromagnetic pulse (EMP). The cure is as bad as the disease, it’s like whole body radiation. The film has lots of earthquakes and silly car chases, too.

The Washington Post had listed an older 2005 Hallmark film named “Supernova” here. It’s directed by John Harrison and features Peter Fonda and Luke Perry (playing astrophysicist Chris Richardson). What if the Sun were going to explode or at least suddenly expand and “they” just didn’t tell us. (There is no “they”, remember.) That doesn’t happen, but as in “Deep Impact”, the government has provided for some people to survive underground, and the world is beset with EMP pulses. There’s massive damage to Sydney and other cities (presumably the film is Australian).

There was actually a TV series “Supernova” where a British astronomer goes to live in the Australian outback.

There was also an MGM-UA film in 2000 named “Supernova” with James Spader (directed by Walter Hill), where a deep space probe finds an artifact from a black hole produced by a supernova. The artifact apparent contains strangelets or instrumentalities of other dimensions that some people say could “infect” the universe (or at least a planet) and turn it into mush, much the way prions can “infect” a brain by propagating changes to the surface geometry of all of the cells. Some people have expressed that fear about the use of the CERN Hadron Collider in Europe.

The nearest supernova candidate (type 1) is IK Pegasi, about 150 light years from earth, a multiple system with a white dwarf that could get too big

1572 Supernova explosion Tycho Brahe on Youtube

YouTube video "CERN LHC Black Holes and Strangelets - May Appear Years Later and Destroy World" by "Standard99999"

Wikipedia attribution link for core-collapse scenario for a type 1 Supernova explosion diagram

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