A small star grazed our solar system 70,000 years ago


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/03/27/a-small-star-grazed-our-solar.html


#2

I wonder how much of our current commetary activity could be traced back to the flyby.


#3

Some of it is likely related to the star’s movement through the Oort Cloud but it takes millions of years to see the effects. So it would be more likely the last few stars over recent history in the millions of years that we’re seeing now.


#4

Now all the tinfoil brigade will say “Oh, We were right!. Nibiru (or Hercolobus, or Planet X etc.) is real”


#5

It’s amazing to me that we can figure something like this out.


#6

Well, it’s not quite The Black Star Passes but I can pretend.


#7

Probably not so much as the repeated perturbations from Jupiter and Saturn.


#8

This article from last year says there’s the possibility of one really close call about every 50K years:

The stated danger here too is jarring more planetesimals loose, to become comets.

I still wonder if something has passed this solar system in its history that’s had enough mass or thrown off enough energy of various kinds to disturb the planets here in some way or other?


#9

Who is Lindsey Lohan?


#10

Amazing.  


#11

The Oort Cloud is not a ring, it is a cloud that encompasses the solar system in a roughly spherical shape. The Kuiper Belt is more like a ring around the bath tub… I mean, solar system.


#12

I wonder how it affected planetary orbits.

Humans must develop the math, learn the physics, and develop engineering that will allow the species to travel other star systems and colonize the galaxy. First the moon, then mars, then then rest of the solar system, then another star. Going further and faster would be an excellent goal for humans.


#13

Cool.  


#14

Could this be the “large gravitational perturber” being attributed to planet 9? Not an astrophysicist, and fully cognizant that this may be a stupid question, so blaze away! :grin:


#15

Was gonna make a crack about our ancestors’ compasses. I do wonder if it messed up birds’ magnetic wayfinding apparati.


#16

Given our advancements in tech in the last 70k years, how quickly could we predict if another star will be this close again?


#17

Correct. Unfortunately I don’t think Clive Thompson has a Discourse account. :confused:

The odds are in our favor insofar as the Dinosaur killer that inevitably eventually intersects Earth’s solar orbit will likely be one the many more comets dragged in by Jupiter. However, if a molecular cloud intersected the Solar System’s galactic orbit, it would likely disrupt all solar orbits and possibly destroy our atmosphere. Fortunately, this is even less common. We’re in far more danger from ourselves than galactic near-misses. As cool as all this is, and it’s very cool indeed, actually worrying about it is a prime example of poor risk analysis.


#18

I thought of that too. It lacks the aliens coming from their frozen world to colonize our warm planets.

Plot twist B: They did come 70,000 years ago, and we are the aliens!

ETA: Ramans do everything in threes. Start looking for the next one.


#19

I’m not concerned about a future threat (“stated danger” was misleading wording there), more thinking on outside weirdness that might have affected the solar system in its long past.

And thanks for the info about Jupiter and comets. I’ve found a couple of links if anyone else is interested:

Jupiter’s effect on comet and asteroid orbits, in regard to Earth:

And Jupiter has its own comet “family”:
http://astronomy.swin.edu.au/cosmos/J/Jupiter-family+Comets


#20

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