Star to get within a trillion miles of Sun in 1.4 million years
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Using the precise location and motion data obtained by the space telescope Gaia, astronomers have identified a star that 1.4 million years will come within a trillion miles of the Sun.
That distance puts it well within the outer parts of the theorized Oort cloud at the edge of the solar system. Since the star, Gliese 710, has a mass half that of the Sun, it will thus disturb many objects in that Oort Cloud, causing many to eventually fall sunward and produce a hail of comets several million years later. It will be, for a long time, the brightest object in the night sky, by far.
The data also identified a number of other stars that have in past or will in the future get close to the Sun. The most important result is not that these close approaches occur, but that they have found that they are relatively rare, and even the closest, Gliese 710, never really gets that close.
The universe is big, far bigger than we can really imagine.