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Word Count: 387
Could an exploding star have been responsible for the death of the dinosaurs This idea has become popular again as an explanation for the disappearance of the dinosaurs An exploding star can blast material enormous distances into space If this material reached Earths atmosphere changes may have occurred that were harmful to life We call an exploding star a supernova Nova is the Latin word for new and in ancient times when an exploding star was observed people often thought a new star was being born The plural form of nova is novae So when we talk of more than one supernova we say supernovae When a star has used all its nuclear fuel the gravitational force that pulls the stars material towards its center no longer has an opposing force to act against it As a result the star collapses A star that once had eight times as much matter as our sun and was 1000000 miles across becomes a sphere only ten to fifteen miles across As the star collapses very small particles called neutrinos escape into space After the star becomes a very small sphere it explodes like a giant nuclear bomb and becomes a billion times as bright as our own sun All kinds of matter and radiation are blasted into space This matter and radiation travels through space at nearly the speed of light 186000 miles per second Now if one of these supernovae were to occur within about 130 light years of Earth some scientists feel that life on earth would be drastically affected Since a light year is the distance light travels in one year 130 light years is about 760000000000000 760 quadrillion miles So suppose a supernova had occurred sixty-five million years ago within 130 light years of Earth how exactly would it cause the death of the dinosaurs Some scientists think neutrinos and galactic cosmic rays would cause extremely high rates of deadly
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