The Solar System Could Collapse Because Of A Passing Star, Scientists Warn

Scientists have warned that if Neptune's orbit is disrupted by a passing star by just 0.1 percent, the planets in our solar system might collide.

The research, published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, suggests that a "stellar flyby" - a relatively common occurrence in the universe - could be enough to cause planets to collide.

If Mercury and Jupiter's perihelion — the point at which the planets are closest to the Sun — occur at the same time, two scenarios are possible. Mercury's orbit could be disrupted, forcing it to leave the Solar System or collide with Venus, the Sun, or the Earth.

These changes will take millions of years to occur, but the researchers recreated the circumstance roughly three thousand times.

Over 2,000 of them ended with planets colliding or Uranus, Neptune, or Mercury being completely evacuated from the Solar System.

"The full role that stellar flybys play in the evolution of planetary systems is still being researched." "The consensus is that stellar flybys play an important role in planetary systems that form in a star cluster while the planetary system remains within the star cluster," says Garett Brown, a graduate student of computational physics at the University of Toronto's Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences (PES).

"Typically, this is the first 100 million years of planetary evolution." The occurrence rate of stellar flybys substantially falls after the star cluster evaporates, limiting their importance in the formation of planetary systems."

Furthermore, given that the Sun will undoubtedly expand and devour the Earth in five billion years, Brown believes that the potential of this disrupting our experience in the Solar System is "not a problem we need to be concerned about."

Research that has been peer-reviewed