7 janvier 2017

Une étoile fonce sur notre système solaire

Extrait de la fascinante nouvelle:

In 1.35 million years, a star is going to pass near our Solar System, potentially sending a swarm of comets our way. And a new study published in Astronomy & Astrophysics has claimed this star may come even closer than thought.

The star is called Gliese 710, which is about half the size of our Sun, and it is currently 64 light-years from Earth. But it is heading towards us in the galaxy, and at its closest approach it’ll be just 77 light-days away, or 13,365 AU (1 AU is the distance from Earth to the Sun). According to the study, by astronomers Filip Berski and Piotr A. Dybczyński from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland, this is five times closer than previously estimated.

(...) This might seem far, but it’s within a shell of comets that surrounds our Solar System, called the Oort Cloud, which extends anywhere from 5,000 to 200,000 AU. It’s likely, therefore, that this star will disrupt these comets, possibly sending some our way.

“Gliese 710 will trigger an observable cometary shower with a mean density of approximately ten comets per year, lasting for three to four million years,” the researchers wrote in their paper.

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