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Home / Science / One star dug our solar system 70,000 years ago, and the first humans probably saw it

One star dug our solar system 70,000 years ago, and the first humans probably saw it



  One star dug our solar system 70,000 years ago, and early humans probably saw it

At a time when modern humans and Neanderthals were dividing the earth, Scholz approached a distance of less than 1 light-year Planet

Credit: José A. Peñas / SINC

Some distant objects in our solar system carry the gravitational imprint of a small star that flies past 70,000 years ago when modern humans already populated the Earth, according to a new study.

In 201

5, a research team announced that a red dwarf named Scholz & # 39; star was eyeing the solar system 70,000 years ago and approaching the Sun more closely than a light year. For perspective, the nearest stellar neighbor of the Sun, Proxima Centauri, is about 4.2 light-years away. The astronomers came to this conclusion by extrapolating the motion and velocity of Scholz's star – which zooms in with a smaller companion, a brown dwarf or "failed star" – over time.

Scholz & # 39; Stern passed the solar system at a time when early humans and Neanderthals shared the earth. The star probably appeared as a faint reddish light for anyone looking up at the time, researchers said with the new study. [Top 10 Star Mysteries]

The new study supports the 2015 analysis with a different kind of evidence. A research team headed by Carlos de la Fuente Marcos of the Complutense University in Madrid analyzed 339 known hyperbolic-orbital solar system bodies – V-shaped paths through space rather than circular or elliptical.

  An illustration of the artist of the red dwarf, known as Scholz's star, with his brown-dwarf companion in the foreground, during the flyby of the solar system 70,000 years ago. The sun would appear as a bright star of the pair (left background).

An illustration of the artist of the red dwarf, known as Scholz's star, with his brown-dwarf companion in the foreground, during the couple's solar system flyby 70,000 years ago. The sun would appear as a bright star of the pair (left background).

Credit: Artist Concept by Scholz & # 39; Stern

Objects in hyperbolic orbits could theoretically come from interstellar space, just like & # 39; Oumuamua, the first known sunbeam system visitor born around another star. But they could also be natives who are forced into strange paths by gravitational interactions with the Sun or some of their planets. And the inhabitants of the Oort cloud – an icy ring far from the sun that hosts billions of comets – could even be "disturbed" by the disc of the Milky Way, or wandering stars that come too close to them.

"Using numeric simulations, we have calculated the radians or positions in the sky from which all these hyperbolic objects appear to come," said de la Fuente Marcos in a statement .

"In principle, one would expect these positions to be evenly distributed in the sky, especially when these objects come from the Oort Cloud," he added. "What we find, however, is very different: a statistically significant accumulation of radians." The pronounced overdensity appears projected towards the constellation of Gemini, which corresponds to the close encounter with Scholz 'star. "

& # 39; It is not Oumuamua. In the Gemini group, the bizarre, needle-shaped object actually appears to have come from another star system, the researchers added. They also identified eight other bodies that may be interstellar invaders, including Comet ISON, who was breaking up during a highly anticipated near run by the sun in November 2013.

The new study was published online last month in the monthly news magazine of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters. You can read it for free on the online preprint site arXiv.org.

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.


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