Astronomy/WR 104


Dear Tom,
Peter Tuthill, the discoverer of WR104 says that before going supernova of wr104, the star as it is structured now (seen 8000 years later) would first go through a sequence of in-core collapses, high spins, a flattening-disk- outlook and so on,changing its structure completely, before it could go into the event of a possible gamma-ray-burst, 'giving us many millenia of warning'. So, if for instance it exploded already, let's say about 2000 years ago, we still would have 6000 years, in this example, to observe it all happening, before detonation-moment. So this whole period of structure-change still has to be observed in the comming future.
What's your opinion about this?  Thanks   Friendly, Luc.

Hi Luc,
Yes, WR104 is certainly an interesting system, if only for the fact that it contains a possible GRB threat to us, although very low odds, see
from Phil Plait's "BAD Astronomy" article.
So yes, continue to observe WR104 for it's scientific value.
But as far as worrying about it, it's like one writer said that when you finally see it, it will be too late already.  Besides, even if you had a few days warning from our neutrino detectors, what can be done about it?  Nothing, so I don't lose any sleep over it. We've been through some major extinctions before (especially the Permian one ~230 million years ago) and this planet eventually recovered.  So while it's not good for us primates and other land animals, I'm sure the planet Earth would recover again, as it did in the past.
A far more pressing and worrying problem are from our fellow humans, called Muslim Crazies, that want mass life extinction of the planet using WMD's and they are willing to die to do it, all in the name of... religion. (And we're not even allowed to talk about that one, all in the name of... political correctness indoctrination; that's the scary part.)  That's a far more pressing threat to life, then some distant GRB system, in my opinion.
Clear Skies,
Tom Whiting
Erie, PA USA  


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Tom Whiting


Astronomy has been my hobby/pasttime for over 50 years.  Currently own 3 telescopes, the largest of which is a 30 inch Newtonian truss Dob that is portable.I taught Astronomy/Meteorology at the University Level for 13 years before retiring in 1995. Being retired and home most of the time, I am able to answer all questions relatively quickly, unless it's a new moon weekend with good observing conditions.  No astrology questions please, or questions about alleged UFO picture identifications.


Experience: Astronomy has been my hobby and study for over 50 years. We currently now own a 30 inch portable telescope (Updated - Pennsylvania`s largest portable telescope). It can be seen on our website at: and also attend several regional starparties during the year, and have been on 5 total solar eclipse expeditions.

Organizations: President, Erie County Mobile Observers Group for over 15 years.

Publications: Wrote the "Over Erie Skies" newspaper article in our local newspaper for 11 years (1975-86).

Education: Masters Degree- Taught at the University level for 13 years. Retired 20 years -USAF Pilot - KC-135 with 180 combat missions;  Also Eagle Scout, Philmont staff 2 Yrs, Order of Arrow Lodge Chief, Ham Radio (inactive).

Awards: two discoveries: The mini-coathanger asterism in Ursa Minor (the little dipper) And the mini-ladle- another asterism in the bowl of Ursa Minor. Clients: Currently President of the ECMOG as mentioned above.

BS  Metallurgical Engineering Grove City College, PAMaster's Degree, Gannon University, Erie, PA Also retired USAF pilot, 20 years.

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