In a new study, two researchers explained how Earth would get thrown out of the Solar System following the arrival of a rogue star. The researchers were able to calculate the chances of this scenario happening by analyzing the known wandering stars in Milky Way.
The researchers focused on planets in the Solar System and how their orbits will be affected by the arrival of a new star. They presented their findings through a new study that was submitted for pre-publication.
Disruptive Effect Of Rogue Stars
According to the scientists, planets that revolve around a central host star, such as those in the Solar System, follow steady orbits due to the gravitational pull of the cosmic objects on one another. In other words, this gravitational interaction keeps each planet within its own place.
If another massive object with a strong gravitational pull enters this system, such as a rogue star, its presence could disrupt the orbits of the other planets. For instance, if one of Milky Way's wandering stars suddenly enters the orbital plane of the Sun and Earth, the trajectory of the latter would destabilize.
Extinction Scenario For Earth
Since Earth would no longer be on a stable orbit, it could get kicked out of the Solar System. As other scientific reports have shown, getting thrown out of a star system can be very dangerous for any planet. For one, since it no longer follows a steady orbit, it could collide with another planet. Aside from a planetary collision, getting thrown out of a star system would have a significant effect on a planet's habitability.
In the study of Earth-like planets, scientists determine potential habitability based on the proximity of these alien worlds to their host stars. If a planet is too close to a star, it most likely has hellish and hostile environmental conditions. Being too far, on the other hand, could turn a planet into a giant cosmic ice ball. In other words, moving away from the Solar System and the Sun would drastically alter the conditions on Earth and kill all life on the planet, Space.com reported.
Chances Of Earth Getting Ejected
To determine if Earth is in danger of getting thrown out of the Solar System, the researchers analyzed the speed, mass, trajectory and positions of the stars wandering the Milky Way. Through the data they have collected, the researchers were able to determine if a star is in danger of disrupting Earth's orbit around the Sun.
Although it is possible for Earth to get kicked out, the chances of this scenario happening are very slim. According to simulations run by the scientists, Earth only has one out of 15,000 chance of experiencing orbital destabilization in the course of four billion years.