New Nightmare Unlocked: Earth Could Be Knocked Out Of Orbit By A ‘Rogue Star’


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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A study published in November suggests Earth could one day be knocked out of its orbit by a “rogue star.”

Us little Earthlings currently exist in a part of our solar system called the “habitable zone.” This incredible part of space allows for carbon-based life to flourish, as liquid water makes up most of our home. But in about five billion or so years, we’ll be boiled to death and vaporized as our sun expands and swallows us inside her fiery guts.

That is, unless Earth is knocked out of orbit by a “rogue star,” which some researchers think is possible. At some point in the next billion years, a rogue star or planet could float through our solar system, and disrupt the status quo that keeps us alive. And apparently, this has almost happened before.

“Currently, the closest approach of any star is about 10,000 au [astronomical units] (and happened a couple million years ago),” lead study author Sean Raymond told Live Science. 10,000 AU is roughly 10,000 times the distance between Earth and the Sun.

So, Raymond and his team started measuring hypothetical approaches of different sized planets and stars, conducting 12,000 simulations. In some, the Earth was pushed farther out in our orbit, into colder parts of the solar system (which might be just what we need if the sun’s gotten too hot by then). In others, we landed in the Oort cloud, well beyond Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.

But in a few simulations, a rogue star with the right amount of energy to sustain life on Earth simply scoops our little planet up into its orbit, and everything goes on as usual. Imagine that: you wake up in the morning and there’s a different sun in the sky.

Don’t get your hopes up though. The odds of humanity surviving a rogue star encounter are about 1 in 35,000. (RELATED: Strange Circles Seen In Space, Baffles Scientists)

So, as you’re making decisions for your holiday season, or thinking of resolutions for 2024, please remember that you live on a flying ball of rock that will probably be vaporized in five billion years. The world quite literally does not revolve around you.