About 70,000 years ago, a small reddish star approached our solar system and gravitationally disturbed comets and asteroids. Astronomers have verified that the movement of some of these objects is still marked by that stellar encounter.
About 70,000 years ago, the Scholz star grazed our solar system and, although it barely possessed 9% of its mass, it caused changes in the orbits of dozens of comets.
In 2015, when astronomers discovered that event, they assumed that it didn’t leave behind many consequences.
However, researchers from the universities of Cambridge (United Kingdom) and Complutense (Madrid, Spain) have shown that the event did leave behind a number of important consequences.
“In principle, one would expect those positions to be evenly distributed in the sky, particularly if these objects come from the Oort cloud,” says the study’s lead author Carlos de la Fuente Marcos from the Complutense University of Madrid.
“However, what we find is very different: a statistically significant accumulation of radiants.”
When analyzing the positions of some 340 objects from the outer Solar System, scientists discovered that several dozens of them were not where they expected them to be located.
In addition, they perceived that several comets followed trajectories that locate their origins in different places. In the absence of further research, these facts disseminated by the Royal British Astronomical Society raise new questions about our Solar System, such as how much material was previously in another part of the galaxy.
Among scholars of the controversial and hypothetical Planet X, also called Nibiru, some argue that because of the large size and appearance -4 times the size of Jupiter and reddish in color- that has been attributed to it, Nibiru is not a planet but rather a star, more precisely a red dwarf.
Currently, the star of Scholz is a small red dwarf, dark in the constellation of Monoceros, about 20 light-years away and moving in the opposite direction from our solar system, never to return.
However, at the closest point in its passage through the solar system, the Scholz star would have been a star of magnitude 10, about 50 times weaker than it can normally be seen with the naked eye at night.
Within any million year period, there could be as many as 600 stars passing within 16.3 light years of our Sun, writes Science Alert.
However, it is magnetically active and can record bursts that make it briefly thousands of times brighter.
So, it is possible that the Scholz star was visible to the naked eye by our ancestors only 70,000 years ago.
Featured image credit: José A. Peñas/SINC