Gamma Ray Bursts, the result of a slightly different variety of cosmic mishap. When large stars die, they don't go gently into the night. Single stars can implode, or two small, dead stars can collide. Either way, the resulting black hole is celebrated with a brief flash of gamma rays a million trillion times brighter than the Sun. It could damage the atmospheres of planets even light-years away, which would be bad news for any biology.
Beware what follows! I have no more right to be thinking, much less writing, these words than the last drunk picked up in Times Square last night. But, I am, possibly, different from that guy because I read the Science Times in the New York Times on June 9th. I doubt they supply the TIMES daily in jail?