But it will take a long time
A small star could wipe out the entire solar system
One small star may be enough to unbalance the entire solar system. Scientists have calculated that. However, there is no immediate cause for concern.
Publication date: 07/11/2022 at 19:47
Our whole solar system: gold. All life on planet Earth: Extinct. This scenario could become a reality – because of a young star.
As the scientists wrote in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, a small star’s flight from Neptune could be enough to smash all the other planets together, wiping out the entire solar system.
Mercury and Jupiter also play a role
Such fly-bys of stars and planets are relatively common in the universe. If the star was big enough to shift Neptune’s orbit by just 0.1 percent, that might be enough to mess up the entire system.
However, flying a lone star is not enough. Alternatively, scientists have calculated that Mercury and Jupiter should also reach perihelion at the same time. This is the point in the planet’s orbit closest to the sun. In combination with the star’s flight, the gravity of the entire solar system will become unbalanced.
Transformation takes several million years
According to scientists, if you play all the possibilities together, then there will be two possibilities. Either Mercury is pulled out of its orbit and out of the solar system, or it is set off on a collision course with Venus, Earth, or even the Sun itself.
However, changing orbits and resulting planetary accidents will continue for millions of years, the scientists continue to write.
The biggest problem is that the sun swells
“The full extent of stellar flight has not been fully explored yet,” Garrett Brown, a graduate student in computational physics in the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences (PES) at the University of Toronto, told Universe Today.
For now, Brown says, it is assumed that in about five billion years, the Sun will completely expand and engulf the solar system. “So the possibility that stellar flyby could upset the balance of our solar system is not something to worry about.” (zis)
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