Incredible, unbelievable Science: A Star will pass very close to our Solar System: Gliese 710 will pass the Sun even closer
[I'm not publishing the full science paper. If you're interested you can go to the source link. What I am publishing is the conclusion. What is being discussed here is the wildest stuff I've ever come across in my life long interest in Astronomy. Until recent weeks I had never before read of stars actually passing by and even partly THROUGH our solar system. This is massively important, wild and even dangerous. This could actually destroy our planet and all life on it one day. The evidence for this is firm. This star will pass by our solar system in 1.3 million years and cause some mayhem. It's most unlikely that our planet will be damaged. But this is truly crazy stuff. The good news is that at least this stuff happens in "slow motion" and Whites and our science can prepare hundreds of thousands of years in advance. When this star passes by, it will unleash a mass of comets that will come down close to the Earth and the planets near us. The comets will be coming down at the rate of one a month for many years! But, this will happen about 3 million years AFTER the star has passed through the outer portion of our solar system! Jan]
Based on the first data from the ESA space mission Gaia we have found new parameters of the close approach of Gliese 710. From our calculations 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. At minimum distance, this star will be the brightest and the fastest object on 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.
It should be stressed that such a significant correction of Gliese 710 proximity parameters is mainly due to new proper motions obtained from Gaia results. As stated in Gaia Collaboration (2016a) these new proper motions are highly superior to those from Hipparcos or Tycho-2, especially for a single star. This means that proximity parameters presented here are close to reality.
These results additionally show how important the Gaia mission is for the knowledge of the solar neighbourhood. Results based on the first year of work of this spacecraft have significantly improved the accuracy of close stellar approach parameters. We can now expect that after the final data release we will be able to describe the history and future of such phenomena, including also small objects such as brown dwarfs, etc.