Scientists warn of 14 wandering stars that have been calculated as being on a ‘collision course’ with our Solar System. One of those stars could have the power to wipe out human existence. There is a 90 percent chance of them reaching the outermost edges of our solar system.
A paper, soon to be published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics by astrophysicist Coryn Bailer-Jones of Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Astronomy warns of 14 wandering stars that will pass within three light years of Earth, but one of them is our biggest threat as scientists warn it could likely become our closest encounter.
HIP 85605 is one of 14 Stars traveling towards our solar System. According to reports, there is a 90 percent chance of them reaching the outermost edges of our solar system, setting off cataclysmic events. Alien star—HIP 85605—will skim past our Solar System at a mere 0.13 to 0.65 light years, or around 8000 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun.
Once HIP 85605 reaches the outer edges of our solar system, scientists warn it will come in contact with the Oort cloud—an extended shell of icy objects that exist in the outermost reaches of the solar system—firing countless asteroids towards Earth, sometime between 240,000 and 470,000 years from now.
If by then we don’t develop appropriate defense mechanisms, life on Earth could be wiped out.
The study published in arXiv reads: “The closest encounter appears to be HIP 85605, a K or M star, which has a 90% probability of coming between 0.04 and 0.20 parsed between 240,000 and 470,000 years from now.”
HIP-85605 is currently located around 16 light years from Earth. It is a cool K-class dwarf spar approaching our solar system from the direction of the Hercules constellation.
Speaking to Australia’s Herald Sun, astrophysicist Alan Duffy from Swinburn University said:
“Objects hardly ever meet in space—the distances are so huge—but the gravitational influence of a star is enormous, even something a light year away can rattle the loosely held Oort cloud objects. But there’s no doubt that nearby stars in the past have nudged Oort objects into falling towards the inner solar system.”
But… forget about Asteroids, what about Solar radiation?
It is known that Stars can unleash such radiation that it could literally tear apart the DNA of living organisms after destroying a planet’s ozone layer. However, Professor Duffy says that in order for something like that to occur, it’d have to get extremely close—impossibly close—for its radiation and gravity to have any direct effect, reports news.com.au.
“None of the stars that will likely come close to us are particularly large or bright meaning that they won’t affect the Earth with their UV or heating directly,” he says.
“A star 100 times more luminous than our Sun would have to get as close to the Earth as Jupiter for it to be brighter than the Sun in our sky. If it’s a smaller star then it would have to get even closer. Long before then, the gravity of this intruder would already have likely flung the Earth out of our orbit. Thankfully no star is predicted to come that close!”
Featured image: Solaris/20th Century Fox, Star Wars/Disney