According to the latest study published in Astronomy & Astrophysics a star will pass by our solar system and it could come much closer than we’ve all anticipated. But don’t be alarmed, we’ll probably all be gone by then because it’s expected to happen in some 1.35 million years.
The star in question is called Gliese 710; it’s about half the size of our Sun and at the moment is 64 light years from our planet. However, the star is approaching our solar system and according to the study by astronomers Filip Berski and Piotr A. Dybczyński from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland, at its closest point will be just 77 light-days or 13,365 AU (1 AU is the distance from Earth to the Sun) away, which is five times closer than previously believed.
The scientists received these new calculations from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Gaia space observatory, which at the moment is mapping every star in our galaxy.
You may think that this is not so close but this is actually in range of the shell of comets in near vicinity of our Solar System, the Oort Cloud, spanning on an area from 5,000 to 200,000 AU. This means that there’s high probability that the star will disrupt the comets and may actually send some our way.
The researchers wrote in their paper:
“Gliese 710 will trigger an observable cometary shower with a mean density of approximately ten comets per year, lasting for three to four million years.”
“From our calculations we can expect that this star will have the strongest influence on the Oort Cloud objects in the next ten million years, and even in the last several million years there has not been any such important object near the Sun.”
It’s still not clear how will this event influence our Solar System. It’s so far in the future so assuming that there are still humans left on our planet, a comet or two may be noticed if Jupiter doesn’t sweep them away. But maybe there are going to be some more dire consequences, who knows? We can only hope that humanity will be advanced enough to know how to deflect them.