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A Star Is On A Collision Course With The Edge Of Our Solar System

NASA JPL-Caltech

NASA/JPL-Caltech

According to the latest research released in Astronomy & Astrophysics, In 1.35 million years, a star will come even closer to our Solar System than it was previously estimated.it could potentially send a swarm of comets our way.

This star has been named as Gliese 710 and it is nearly half the size of the Sun, staying 64 light-years away from Earth at present. However, it is moving towards our planet in the galaxy. At the closest point, it will be just 77 light-days away, or 13,365 AU (1 AU is the distance from Earth to the Sun). Such study was carried out by astronomers Filip Berski and Piotr A. Dybczyński from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland. It claimed that this would be five times closer than previously thought

The new calculations were based on work taken by Gaia space observatory of the European Space Agency’s (ESA). This observatory is now mapping every star in the Milky Way.

Although it could appear far, it is really within a shell of comets surrounding our Solar System, and it is called the Oort Cloud, extending anywhere from 5,000 to 200,000 AU. So it is possible that this star would disrupt these comets, and could send some to our planet.

As researchers said, Gliese 710 would cause an observable cometary shower which had a mean density of nearly ten comets each year, lasting for three to four million years,

It is expected from their calculations that this star will leave the strongest impact on the Oort Cloud objects in the coming ten million years, and even in the past several million years there has not been any object of such importance so close to the Sun.

It is now unclear what influence such event will have on the Solar System. For the time being, the mankind might still notice another comet or two, although Jupiter generally is good at sweeping them up. However, this is not the only star that will be heading towards us so close, for there are more than fourteen stars that might come within 3 light-years in the next few million years.

If one of them come along to our planet, it is hoped that we could have found a solution to deflect it by then.

Source:  Forbes

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