by Paul LaViolette

from Etheric Website




Galactic core outbursts are the most energetic phenomenon taking place in the universe.


The active, quasar-like core of spiral galaxy PG 0052+251 (Figure 1-a), for example, is seen to radiate 7 times as much energy as comes from all of the galaxy’s stars.


Most of this is emitted in the form of high energy cosmic ray electrons accompanied by electromagnetic radiation ranging from radio wave frequencies on up to X ray and gamma ray frequencies.



Figure 1-a. Image showing the luminous quasar-like core of spiral galaxy PG 0052+25. Taken with the Hubble Space Telescope.
(Courtesy of J. Bahcall and NASA)




Figure 1-b. Infrared image of the Galactic center radio-emitting source Sagittarius A* seen at a wavelength of 8.7 microns (red spot marked as GC). Taken with the Hale Telescope. (Courtesy of Stolovy, Hayward, and Herter)



A study of astronomical and geological data reveals that cosmic ray electrons and electromagnetic radiation from a similar outburst of our own Galactic core (Figure 1-b), impacted our Solar System near the end of the last ice age.


This cosmic ray event spanned a period of several thousand years and climaxed around 14,200 years ago.


Although far less intense than the PG 0052+251 quasar outburst, it was, nevertheless, able to substantially affect the Earth’s climate and trigger a solar-terrestrial conflagration the initiated the worst animal extinction episode of the Tertiary period.



X-ray photo of the Sun showing solar flare hot spots.


The effects on the Sun and on the Earth’s climate were not due to the Galactic cosmic rays themselves, but to the cosmic dust that these cosmic rays transported into the Solar System.


Observations have shown that the Solar System is presently immersed in a dense cloud of cosmic dust, material that is normally kept at bay by the outward pressure of the solar wind. But, with the arrival of this Galactic cosmic ray volley, the solar wind was overpowered and large quantities of this material were pushed inward.


The Sun was enveloped in a cocoon of dust that caused its spectrum to shift toward the infrared. In addition, the dust grains filling the Solar System scattered radiation back to the Earth, producing an "interplanetary hothouse effect" that substantially increased the influx of solar radiation to the Earth. Details of this scenario are described in Paul LaViolette’s book Earth Under Fire,(1) in his Ph.D. dissertation,(2) as well as in a series of journal articles he has published.(3­8)

LaViolette’s research suggests that the Sun also became highly active as dust and gas falling onto its surface induced extreme flaring activity. Together with the radiation influx from the Sun’s dust cocoon, this caused the Sun’s corona and photosphere to inflate, much as is observed today in dust-choked stars called "T Tauri stars."


These various solar effects caused atmospheric warming and inversion conditions that facilitated glacial growth which brought on ice age conditions. On occasions when the solar radiation influx to the Earth became particularly high, the ice age climate warmed, initiating episodes of rapid glacial melting and continental flooding. There is evidence that one particularly tragic solar flare event occurred around 12,750 years ago during a period when the Sun was particularly active. This involved the release of an immense coronal mass ejection which engulfed the Earth and induced a mass animal extinction.

Dr. LaViolette, who is currently president and chief researcher of the Starburst Foundation, was the first to demonstrate that cosmic rays from a galactic core explosion penetrate far outside a galaxy’s nucleus to bombard solar systems like our own residing in the spiral arm disk.


He coined the word "galactic superwave" to refer to such a cosmic barrage. He has shown that galactic superwaves recur at long intervals and arrive at Earth’s doorstep without warning because they travel at near light speed.

Galactic superwaves are a recent discovery. During the early 60’s astronomers began to realize that the massive object that forms the core of our Galaxy (the Milky Way), periodically becomes active.(9)


The cores of all spiral galaxies cycle through a similar phase. During its active period, our galactic core spews out a fierce quasar-like barrages of cosmic rays, with a total energy output equal to hundreds of thousands of supernova explosions.(10,11)


In some galaxies these active emissions have been observed to equal the energy from billions of supernova explosions.

Until recently, astronomers believed these eruptions were very infrequent, occurring every 10 to 100 million years.(10) They also believed the interstellar magnetic fields, in the Galactic nucleus, would trap the emitted particles in spiral orbits causing them to reach the Earth very slowly.(12) For these reasons, many did not believe that Galactic core explosions posed any immediate threat to the Earth.

However, in 1983 Paul LaViolette presented evidence to the scientific community indicating that:(2-4)

1. Galactic core explosions actually occur about every 13,000 - 26,000 years for major outbursts and more frequently for lesser events.

2. The emitted cosmic rays escape from the core virtually unimpeded. As they travel radially outward through the Galaxy, they form a spherical shell that advances at a velocity approaching the speed of light.

Astronomical discoveries subsequently confirmed aspects of Dr. LaViolette’s hypothesis. In 1985, astronomers discovered that Cygnus X-3, an energetic celestial source of cosmic rays, which is about the same distance from Earth as the Galactic Center (25,000 light years), is showering Earth with particles, traveling at close to the speed of light, moving in essentially straight paths.(13)


Later, scientists found the Earth is impacted, at sporadic intervals, with cosmic rays emitted from the X-ray pulsar Hercules X-1 (about 12,000 light years distant).(14,15) The intervening interstellar medium has so little effect on these particles, that their pulsation period of 1.2357 seconds, is constant to within 300 microseconds.

These findings are reason to be gravely concerned about the effects of a Galactic core explosion because they imply that the cosmic rays generated can impact our planet, virtually without warning, preceded only by the wave-flash from the initial explosion.(1,2,6) Astronomical observations show the last major Galactic core explosion occurred as recently as 10,000 to 15,000 years ago.(16,17)


Data obtained from polar ice core samples show evidence of this cosmic ray event as well as other cosmic ray intensity peaks from earlier times (Figure 2).(1, 18)


Figure 2. Demonstration that cosmic ray intensity has varied considerably during the past hundred twenty thousand years.

Lower profile: Cosmic ray intensity at the Earth's surface calculated from variations in the concentration

of beryllium-10 in the ice record adjusted for changes in ice accumulation rate.

Upper profile: Global temperature.

Climatic zones include: the present interglacial (1), last ice age (2, 3, & 4),

previous semi-glaciated period (5a-d), last interglacial (5e), and previous glaciation (6).


Also Dr. LaViolette’s prediction that there is a residual flow of interstellar dust currently entering the Solar System from the Galactic center direction was later verified by data collected from the Ulysses spacecraft and by AMOR radar measurements made in New Zealand.(8)

For a listing of related theory predictions and their verification click here.

Today, tomorrow, next week, next year... sometime in the coming decades... our planet could once again be hit by an intense volley of Galactic cosmic rays. It will come cloaked and hidden from us, until the very moment it strikes.


We live on the edge of the Galaxy’s volcano.


Knowing neither the time, the magnitude, nor the severity of the next eruption or its impact on our environment, we stand unprepared to deal with this event, much less anticipate its arrival.



Galactic Superwaves - Their Effects on Life and Society


When cosmic rays from Galactic superwaves impact the Earth’s atmosphere, they produce "electron cascades."


Each primary cosmic ray generates millions of secondary high energy electrons. Many of these particles scatter upwards and become trapped by the Earth’s magnetic field to form radiation belts similar to those created by high altitude nuclear explosions.


In just one day, a major Galactic superwave event would inject into the geomagnetic field a particle energy equivalent to 1000 one-megaton hydrogen bomb explosions (1025 ergs). At this rate, the energy delivered to the belts after one year would exceed 30,000 times the energy received from the most powerful solar cosmic ray storms observed in modern times.

Such energized radiation belts could cause a global communications blackout by creating radio static and by permanently damaging critical electronic components of communication satellites. Air travel during such conditions would be extremely hazardous.


The resulting atmospheric ionization would destroy the ozone layer, and increase skin cancer rates, due to high levels of UV reaching the Earth’s surface; the cosmic ray particles penetrating to ground level would significantly increase cell mutation rates.

Galactic superwaves may also produce an intense electromagnetic pulse (EMP) whenever a cosmic ray front happens to strike the Earth’s atmosphere. Galactic superwaves such as those that arrived during the last ice age could have generated pulses delivering tens of thousands of volts per meter in times as short as a billionth of a second, comparable to the early-time EMP signal from a high-altitude nuclear explosion (see Figure 3).

In addition, there is the danger that a superwave could transport outlying cosmic dust into the Solar System which could seriously affect the Earth’s climate possibly triggering a new ice age.


Although there is a small probability that the next superwave will be as catastrophic as the one at the end of the last ice age, even the less intense, more frequent events would be quite hazardous for the global economy.



Figure 3. Intensity vs. time plot for EMP from a high-altitude nuclear explosion (solid line)

compared to that from a hypothetical superwave (dashed line).

The numbers designate early-time, intermediate-time,

and late-time EMP phases (ns = nanoseconds, µs = microseconds).




The Frequency and Hazards of Minor Superwave Events

Galactic Center activity occurs frequently between major superwave events.


Astronomical observation indicates that during the last 6,000 years, the Galactic center has expelled 14 clouds of ionized gas.(19) See Figure 4 for dates. These outbursts may have produced minor superwave emissions with EMP effects comparable to those of major superwaves. About 80% of these bursts took place within 500 hundred years of one another (Figure 5).


With the most recent outburst occurring 700 years ago, there is a high probability of another one occurring in the near future.



Figure 4. History of minor Galactic Center explosion activity during the past 6000 years;

approximate dates when radiation pulses arrived from the Galactic Center.

(These age estimates taken from Lacy et al. have been decreased by 70% to be consistent

with the value of 7 kiloparsecs for the estimated distance to the center of the Galaxy.)


Figure 5. Amount of time between successive gas expulsions from the Galactic center,

plotted as a frequency histogram.


The four-second extragalactic gamma ray burst that arrived in 1983, did have a measurable effect on radio transmissions used for global navigation and communication.(20)


By comparison, the "minor" superwave events discussed above might have total energies hundreds of millions of times greater than this. At present little research is being done on this important astronomical phenomenon. Nor are we prepared should a Galactic superwave suddenly arrive.


International channels of communication are not in place to deal with the disasters that a superwave could bring upon us.



Steps that Should be Taken

Currently, radio astronomers are monitoring the cosmic ray/synchrotron radiation activity of the Galactic core on a daily basis.


They report their findings regularly in IAU (International Astronomical Union) circulars. However, an early warning system needs to be set up so that, in the event that signs of a significant core outburst and superwave activity are detected, the proper organizations around the world are notified and the proper precautions are taken. In this way, the impact of such an event could be drastically reduced.

In regard to the superwave EMP problem, there is a need to develop an awareness about this phenomenon so that if it does occur, it does not inadvertently trigger a nuclear missile launching. Also there is a need to develop emergency plans to implement measures that will minimize its impact on power and communications networks.

There needs to be an increased awareness of the phenomenon and its potential threat to the Earth so that ways might be found of minimizing the effects of a superwave should one arrive. More scientific papers need to be presented on research on this subject and media coverage of the subject is needed. Astronomical and geological research needs to be conducted to learn more about this phenomenon.


For example, a more detailed analysis needs to be made of the high concentrations of beryllium-10 and cosmic dust present in the ice age portion of the Earth’s polar ice record, remnants of the last major superwave event. Data on interstellar dust composition that will be gathered with the Cassini spacecraft will also be particularly useful.

Currently, the Starburst Foundation is one of the few organizations researching this important astronomical phenomenon.


The Starburst Foundation is a scientific research institute dedicated to discovering how Galactic superwaves have affected our planet in the past, to implementing an international early-warning system for future events, and to investigating ways of lessening the adverse effects of superwaves on our planet.

The Starburst Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit U.S. corporation that is supported by charitable contributions.





1)   LaViolette, P. A. Earth Under Fire. Alexandria, VA: Starlane Publications, 1997.
2)   LaViolette, P. A. Galactic Explosions, Cosmic Dust Invasions, and Climatic Change. Ph.D. dissertation, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, August 1983.
3)   LaViolette, P. A. "The terminal Pleistocene cosmic event: Evidence for recent incursion of nebular material into the Solar System." Eos 64 (1983): 286. American Geophysical Union paper, Baltimore, Maryland.
4)   LaViolette, P. A. "Elevated concentrations of cosmic dust in Wisconsin stage polar ice." Meteoritics 18 (1983): 336. Meteoritical Society paper, Mainz, Germany.
5)   LaViolette, P. A. "Evidence of high cosmic dust concentrations in Late Pleistocene polar ice (20,000 - 14,000 Years BP)." Meteoritics 20 (1985): 545.
6)   LaViolette, P. A. "Cosmic ray volleys from the Galactic Center and their recent impact on the Earth environment." Earth, Moon, and Planets 37 (1987): 241.
7)   LaViolette, P. A. "Galactic core explosions and the evolution of life." Anthropos 12, (1990): 239 ­ 255.
8)   LaViolette, P. A. "Anticipation of the Ulysses interstellar dust findings." Eos 74(44) (1993): 510 ­ 511.
9)   Oort, J. H. "The Galactic Center." Annual Reviews of Astronomy & Astrophysics 15 (1977): 295.
10) Burbridge, G. R. et al. "Evidence for the occurrence of violent events in the nuclei of galaxies." Reviews of Modern Physics 35 (1963): 947.
11) Burbidge, G. R. et al. "Physics of compact nonthermal sources III. Energetic considerations." Astrophysical Journal 193 (1974): 43.
12) Ginzburg, V. L., and Syrovatskii, S. I. The Origin of Cosmic Rays. New York: Pergamon Press, 1964, p. 207.
13) Marshak, et al. "Evidence for muon production by particles from Cygnus X-3," Physical Review Letters 54 (1985): 2079.
14) Dingus, B. L. et al. "High-energy pulsed emission from Hercules X-1 with anomalous air-shower muon production." Physical Review Letters 61 (1988): 1906.
15) Schwarzschild, B. "Are the ultra-energetic cosmic gammas really photons? Physics Today (ll) (1988): 17.
16) Brown, R. L., and Johnston, K. J. "The gas density and distribution within 2 parsecs of the Galactic Center," Astrophysical Journal 268 (1983): L85.
17) Lo, K. Y., and Claussen, M. J. "High-resolution observations of ionized gas in central 3 paresecs of the Galaxy: possible evidence for infall." Nature 306 (1983): 647.
18) Raisbeck, G. M., et al. "Evidence for two intervals of enhanced 10Be deposition in Antarctic ice during the Last Glacial Period." Nature 326 (1987): 273.
19) Lacy, J. H., Townes, C. H., Geballe, T. R., and Hollenbach, D. J. "Observations of the motion and distribution of the ionized gas in the central parsec of the Galaxy. II," Astrophysical Journal 241 (1980): 132.
20) Fishman, G. J. and Inan, U. S. "Observation of an ionospheric disturbance caused by a gamma-ray burst." Nature 331 (1988):418.