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Can supernovae cause extinctions!?

Two radio podcasts with Prof. Shawn Bishop

2016-11-22 – News from the Physics Department

Recently, the research group of Prof. Shawn Bishop have for the first time ever identified supernova ash in the Earth’s microfossil record. They found out that our earth moved through – or rather was bombarded by – the remnants of a supernova explosion, starting about 2.7 million years and lasting for about a million years. Now a Canadian radio programme has aired an extensive inteview with Shawn Bishop, which is available online. Additionally, a radio essay featuring this work via the “Academic Minute” has been broadcast in the US, and is also available online.

This extraordinary deep X-ray image shows Cassiopeia A, the youngest supernova remnant in the Milky Way. The explosion of a massive star left behind an expanding shell of debris. The image shows X-rays of different energies coded in different colors. – Image: NASA/CXC/MIT/UMass Amherst/M.D.Stage et al.

Listen to the interview and follow a fascinating story about how these findings where obtained and what implications supernovae have had (and might have in future) on life on earth. The 40 minute interview with Shawn Bishop starts around 12:40 min.

The Star Spot Interview

The Star Spot, with Justin Trottier, is a space themed podcast and radio show focusing on all aspects of astronomy and space exploration.

The interview with Shawn Bishop starts at 12:40 min.

The Academic Minute Essay

The Academic Minute features researchers from colleges and universities around the world. It is a daily radio show and podcast hosted and supported by the Association of American Colleges & Universities.


Time resolved 2-million-year-old supernova activity discovered in Earth’s microfossil record
Peter Ludwig, Shawn Bishop, Ramon Egli, Valentyna Chernenko, Boyana Deneva, Thomas Faestermann, Nicolai Famulok, Leticia Fimiani, José Manuel Gómez-Guzmán, Karin Hain, Gunther Korschinek, Marianne Hanzlik, Silke Merchel, and Georg Rugel


Prof. Dr. Shawn Bishop
Technische Universität München
James-Franck-Str. 1
85748 Garching
Tel.: +49 89 289 12437
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