Earth could be ripped from the solar system by a rogue star, experts say
OUR planet has been happily spinning in the solar system for billions of years, but some scientists believe that all could change.
The Sun’s gravity currently keeps Earth in its stable orbit, but the presence of another large star could change that, research suggests.
Scientists say it’s possible that nearby stars are moving through space and getting closer to our solar system.
If this happens, it could alter the Earth’s orbit.
A big rogue star could start giving Earth a gravitational tug.
This would slowly remove it from the solar system, which could be deadly to all life on Earth.
This is the theory that a team of scientists describes in an online study titled: “Close stellar encounters pushing planets out of the habitable zone in various stellar environments.”
The scientists write: “A planet’s continued habitability is a critical condition for the appearance of advanced life forms, but it can be endangered by astronomical events such as stellar encounters.”
The team used gravitational simulations to demonstrate how a star could alter a planet’s orbit and pull it out of a habitable zone.
The Earth currently orbits the Sun at the right distance to support life.
If we were closer or further away, life on Earth might change as we know it and humans might not be able to adapt to the conditions.
The good news is that scientists don’t think Earth will leave its current orbit anytime soon.
In fact, they think Earth has had a 1 in 15,000 chance of this happening in its entire history.
Even if a nearby star tried to pull us away, the process would likely take a long time.
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