Bad News for our solar system. The huge gravitational force of star Gliese 710 as it passes through the Solar System could trigger a shower of comets in the direction of Earth much sooner than anticipated warn experts.
The star could come as close as 1.2 trillion miles of Earth. While they may sound like a really long distance, in space terms this is significantly close. In fact, Alpha Centauri, the closest star to Earth is located some 25.67 trillion miles away.
For decades, scientists have known that the star that most threatens Earth and our solar system, in general, is Gliese 710, which at some point will travel extremely close to the Solar System.
However, a recent study published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics suggests that it will come much closer than thought and that its arrival could provoke a shower of dangerous comets in the direction of Earth.
According to the scientists, the star is 64 light years from our planet and, although it will not collide with any celestial body, its passage through the Oort Cloud — an extended shell of icy objects that exist in the outermost reaches of the solar system— would trigger a shower of comets in the direction of Earth given the enormous gravitational influence of the star.
Filip Berski and Piotr Dybcznski of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland and co-authors of the study used data collected by the Gaia spacecraft which showed that both the distance and time of proximity are lower than those proposed in previous studies. Berski and Dybcznski indicate that the star’s minimum distance to our solar system will be almost five times closer than previously thought.
Thus, the Gliese 710 could trigger a swarm of comets in around 1.35 million years.
“The influence of this star will be felt in our solar system for a long time, generating an unprecedented catastrophe on our planet,” researchers say.
“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 last several million years there has not been any such important object near the sun,” the paper suggests.
“At a minimum distance, this star will be the brightest and the fastest object in the night sky formed outside the solar system. The flyby of Gliese 710 will generate a large flux of new LPCs, and many of them will be able to reach the inner part of the solar system.”