Would the extra stars in our solar system have healtheffects on the human body? – a physicist’s thoughts –March 31st 2017In the past, the earth’s atmosphere has done a good job of protecting living organisms, on the
Earth’s surface, from radiation. The earth’s atmosphere absorbed most of the high energy radiation
impacting our planet. Gamma rays and x–rays are well absorbed by the atmosphere. High energy
particles from the solar wind are also effectively blocked from reaching the surface, as they are
deflected by the Earth’s atmosphere. Some high energy particles, like protons and electrons, spiral
along the earth’s magnetic field lines and are reflected back and forth by the Earth’s magnetic poles.
These particles become trapped and form what is called the Van Allan belts. Figure 1 shows an
illustration of the Van Allen belts. The lower altitude belt contains protons, and the higher altitude
belt contains high energy electrons. The strong magnetic field, at the Earth’s North and South Poles
act as mirrors, reflecting both electrons and protons.
Figure 1. Illustration of the Van Allen Belts, created by high energy electrons and protons moving
along the Earth’s magnetic field lines.
any particle, with an energy of 100 MeV or more. A cosmic ray particle travels at a speed which is
greater than 40% of the speed of light. In other words, these are relativistic particles. Cosmic rays
are made up of mostly ionised hydrogen or protons (89%), some ionised helium (10%) and about 1%
other nuclei such as iron, silicon, oxygen, carbon and magnesium.
When a cosmic ray, such as a high energy proton, impacts the atmosphere, it collides with an
atmospheric particle, and it causes what is called an air shower. An air shower is the production of a
cascade of secondary particles and gamma radiation. Some of the particles produced are the pion,
symbolized by (pi), which has a very short half-life, so it quickly decays to gamma rays and muons.
The gamma rays give rise to particle antiparticle creation, which results in the production of
electrons and positrons (anti-electron) and also protons and antiprotons. An air shower, or cascade
of particles, is shown in figure 2 below.
Figure 2. Illustration of an air shower, or cosmic ray particle cascade. P is a proton, (pi) is a pion, μ
(mu) is a muon, (nu) is a neutrino, n is a neutron, e- (e minus) is an electron, e+ (e plus) is a
positron (anti-electron), and (gamma) is a gamma ray.
Muons are stable enough to reach the earth’s surface and cause damage to living organisms. They
result in mutations and are therefore cancer causing. Cosmic rays deplete the ozone layer, and so
increase the UVB (ultraviolet B) radiation, emitted by the Sun, reaching the Earth’s surface. UVB
radiation is also cancer causing. The UVA radiation that our atmosphere allows through is not as
damaging, but over exposure prematurely ages the skin and suppresses immunity, which may then
lead to susceptibility to bacterial and viral infections.
Another cosmic ray particle that is very damaging to living organisms is the neutron. Neutrons do
not ionise other particles directly but when a nucleus absorbs a neutron, a gamma ray is given off
which can then ionise other particles. Also, high energy neutrons are more damaging to living tissue
than gamma rays of the same energy. They are also cancer causing.
The usual source of cosmic rays is from outside the solar system. The Sun’s solar wind produces a
bubble, around the solar system, which deflects most of these particles. However, when the Sun
weakens, as it has been doing for a few years now, the cosmic ray flux, impacting earth, also
increases. Since the Sun is now weaker than ever, the amount of cosmic rays, from outside the Solar
System, impacting earth must have greatly increased.
In addition, the Sun’s corona stops very high energy particles, from leaving the Sun’s surface. But
when a coronal hole forms these high energy particles are now able to leave the Sun’s surface. This
means that because of the increasingly larger size of the coronal holes, on the Sun, the Sun is an
increasingly greater source of cosmic rays. These cosmic rays have detrimental effects on human
health. The most likely initial effect is tiredness and inflammation, as the body tries to deal with the
assault on its cells.
Thus, the presence of extra stars in the solar system which connect magnetically to our Sun, and
cause the creation of coronal holes, leads to a greatly increased cosmic ray flux, which then has a
negative impact of human health.
The other way that these objects can affect human health is through their strong magnetic fields.
Since Brown Dwarf stars are collapsed stars, they are denser than normal stars, so they rotate faster
and produce high magnetic fields, in proportion to their sizes. These magnetic fields can have a
direct impact on the human brain, as there is evidence that magnetic fields affect the brain’s ability to release serotonin in synapses. Synapses are the connections between neurons, or neural cells, in the brain. A decrease in serotonin is associated with depression, anger, anxiety, insomnia and headaches, including migraines.
Radio waves can also affect the transfer of serotonin across synapses, and so lead to the same problems.
In conclusion, the presence of Brown Dwarf stars, in the Solar system, is very likely to be having multiple negative effects on the human body from suppression of the immune systems, to cancer and possibly also to headaches and anxiety, due to serotonin