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  • Exploding stars may have caused mass extinction on Earth, study shows

    A team of researchers led by professor Brian Fields hypothesizes that a supernova about 65 light-years away may have contributed to the ozone depletion and subsequent mass extinction of the late Devonian Period, 359 million years ago. Pictured is a simulation of a nearby supernova colliding with and compressing the solar wind. Earth’s orbit, the blue dashed circle, and the Sun, red dot, are shown for scale.

    A team of researchers led by professor Brian Fields hypothesizes that a supernova about 65 light-years away may have contributed to the ozone depletion and subsequent mass extinction of the late Devonian Period, 359 million years ago. Pictured is a simulation of a nearby supernova colliding with and compressing the solar wind. Earth’s orbit, the blue dashed circle, and the Sun, red dot, are shown for scale.

    Graphic courtesy Jesse Miller

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  • Editor’s notes:

    To reach Brian Fields, call 217-333-5529; email bdfields@illinois.edu.

    The paper “Supernova triggers for End-Devonian extinctions” is available online. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2013774117