Gliese's Pieces

Forget global warming and 2012, the real worry is a solar system gravity death match between Sol and Gliese 710.

From Russia’s RT News

Star on course to meet Solar system identified

Movement of an orange dwarf star with a mass of about half that of the Sun will eventually bring it right to the solar system, stellar data analysis indicates.

The Gliese 710 from the constellation Serpens Cauda is due to arrive in about 1.5 million years, and has an 86 per cent probability of passing through the Oort Cloud, says Vadim Bobylev at the Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in St. Petersburg.

The prediction is based on analysis of data from the European Space Agency’s Hipparcos astrometric spacecraft, which measured velocities of almost 120,000 stars in the early 1990s, as well as some recent data.

Bobylev analyzed the measured movements of about 35,000 stars in our neighborhood in the time interval from 2 million years in the past to 2 million years in the future. It resulted in adding nine new stars to the list of those which experience close encounters with the Solar system – either in the past or in the future, he reports in a paper published on arXiv.org website. (PDF)

GL 710 was already known to have a scheduled rendezvous with us. However, Bobylev’s analysis indicates a high chance of passing closer than expected. It even has one chance in 1,000 of approaching close enough to significantly affect objects within the Kuiper Belt, i.e. planets, moons and asteroids. This could be bad news for our descendants.

The Oort Cloud is a hypothetical cloud of comets on the solar system’s boundaries, stretching about one light year away from the sun.

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This same news story is also at Discovery News

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90 thoughts on “Gliese's Pieces

  1. 1.5 million, eh?
    So, will the icecaps have melted between now and then, according to the latest revision of the latest revision of the global warming computer models.
    This does tend to make the eventual red-giant phase of the sun less troubling.

  2. It even has one chance in 1,000 of approaching close enough… In 1.5 million years… I’m so scared!

  3. If correct (and I expect a high error bar), the median likely closest point is 0.75 LY away. At that distance this dwarf would not even be bright in the night. Big deal. Multiply the odds of this “close” encounter with the odds that the researcher wants to publish a dramatic paper. Reposition star further away accordingly.

  4. In the suddenly fashionable English child syle, we ask the paper’s author Bobylev:
    “Twinkle Twinkle little prat
    How I wonder what you’re at”.

  5. Slightly OT, but how do they know its relative velocity?
    Here’s me thinking that the cosmological idea that the universe is universally expanding, means that everything is flying apart from everything else, and the further the faster, according to the measurements of ‘red shift’.
    With these observations are they telling us that ‘blue’ shift actually exists? And if so, where does that leave the idea of an expanding universe?

  6. That’s the trouble with our supposed solar system, we’re so far out on a limb that we miss all the action. Meanwhile the people whose stars whizz around on the inside are swapping prophets and planetary paint with each other. Taint fair.

  7. RhudsonL (00:35:25) :
    Thank God we have supermodels

    So, we can contemplate Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, and Heidi Klum (or their equivalent in 15. million years) as stars collide?

  8. The nearest star apart from the sun is alpha Centauri at 2.3 light years; the Gliese 710 would be halfway to Centauri, doesn’t seem very close.

  9. “John R. Walker (01:10:19) :
    You mean we’ll have to put up with this scare story for 1.5 million years?”
    Yup. Get used to it. It will be called “Global Warping.”
    The hard part is going to be figuring out how to blame you for it.

  10. Caleb (02:08:17) :
    “John R. Walker (01:10:19) :
    You mean we’ll have to put up with this scare story for 1.5 million years?”
    Yup. Get used to it. It will be called “Global Warping.”
    The hard part is going to be figuring out how to blame you for it.

    Obviously!!! It’s the Klingons

  11. What a bunch of Gliese 710 deniers.
    We’ve passed the tipping point, and It will be catastrophic.
    I demand that you all pay enourmous taxes to pay for the global government program that will study the problem, called the Intergovernmental Panel on Gliese Change (IPGC)
    Al Gore is my point man, we’ve already got the movie in the works.

  12. No, the hard part will dealing with the people that tell us since this sort of thing happend 3 billion years ago then we should not be concernced.

  13. I’ll bet Vadim Bobylev should make himself useful and try to predict when or if Russian buses and trains will arrive. There’s a real challenge for him. He’s playing it safe as noone will live long enough to disprove his star theory.
    I have a theory of my own. I created a computer model that predicts that within the next 100 billion years that the earth will be devoured by the soup dragon (from the clangers). It was a tough decision whether to research CO2 as the greatest threat to mankind or the clangers but I had to be realistic and go with the best evidence. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HArUmqqiL0s

  14. Need to give NASA some goals — 1.5M years to get off of this rock seems more reasonable then the most recent 5 year plan.

  15. supercritical: Here’s me thinking that the cosmological idea that the universe is universally expanding, means that everything is flying apart from everything else, and the further the faster, according to the measurements of ‘red shift’.
    Cosmological expansion is a very weak effect. It appears only at very large distances, between objects that are not gravitationally bound. A single galaxy such as the Milky Way Galaxy is gravitationally bound together, so cosmological expansion has no local effect. Stars can move in any direction within the galaxy.

  16. @supercritical
    The cosmologial red shift at intra-galactic distances is negligible, and all the stars are moving constantly around the galaxy and between themselves, both towards us and away from us. Relative velocity is actually a criteria for differentiating between “new” stars and “pre-galactic” stars, since they have completely different velocity profiles.
    @R Stevenson
    If I remember correctly a Centauri is at two times that distance, but anyway, not that it changes anything.
    Anyway, if Gliese doesn’t bring Global Warping, Andromeda will do, since it is in collision course with the Milky Way. Behold the power of CO2!

  17. If I was into reincarnation, then I’d have something to worry about — in approximately 15,000 lifetimes or so. There’s a far more worrying prospect — that of having to face reincarnations of Al Gore over 15,000 lifetimes.

  18. The consequence of a star moving into or near the Oort cloud would be that it would disturb the motions of Oort objects. Some of them would head in towards the inner solar system and might threaten the earth with impact as was hypothsized for “Nemesis”.

  19. Being serious now.
    Isn’t our galaxy moving further away, along with the rest f the stars (expanding away from the center) ?
    Why is that Dwarf expanding faster?

  20. More research is necessary to determine what impact this close encounter may have on earth. Please add research funds to the annual budget for the next 1.5 million years.

  21. NASA still has not realized that space is 2 dimensional and that objects rotating can only travel on one plane from the source. If rotating objects energy mass when rotating were to explode, then it can ONLY be spread in a 2 dimensional circular direction. Not like in fictional stories where it explodes in all directions.
    So if our sun went NOVA, best place to be would be orbiting above the poles. But far enough away that a vacuum pull couldn’t pull you into it when it spreads away.
    A near miss could be worse than a direct hit as the two systems may try to attract each other to become a black hole.
    REPLY: Above the poles? Beyond wrong.

  22. Thanks for the answers. Given that red shift doesn’t count in our galaxy, then how can they tell whether this object is coming or going?

  23. “Nemesis” indeed hopefully we will be off this rock and out into the Galaxy
    by then,either that or we will be painting our bodies blue….
    If the navel gazers have their way///

  24. 1.5 million year?
    Enough time for another bath.
    🙂
    I tried this story on Facebook but didn’t get anybody signing up to the B-Ark passenger list.
    [If you don’t know what this is all about: see HHGTTG (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy)]

  25. lowercasefred (04:49:22) :
    Nemesis at Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nemesis_(star)
    “The Nemesis Affair”, by David Raup, is an interesting book for today, not so much because of the “death star” theory, but because of what it says about “the ways of science”. Very relevant to Gorebull Warbling.

    If you want to play around with a Nemesis star approaching the inner solar system, you can try my simulator where all planets + lots of real comets and asteroids can be simulated. It can also simulate imaginary objects like an incoming Nemesis star (XML file included for that purpose!)
    http://arnholm.org/astro/software/ssg/
    It is quite fun watching Mars leave the solar system after a Nemesis encounter. Sometimes, the Moon becomes a planet of its own when Earth is unable to hold on to it.
    Not the most accurate simulator ever made, but still fun and instructive.

  26. I just opened a Gliese 710 Exchange, where you can buy “Gliese 710 Credits” on the global market. Kleiner & Perkins (Al Gore’s VC firm) put up the money an hour ago.
    Get ready for the new film from Al, “A REALLY Inconvenient Truth”!
    “We’re in the money….”

  27. This danger is due to gravity, right? Therefore, according to the precautionary principle we have to become gravity-neutral. Maybe we ought to be doubly cautious and buy some gravity credits from Alpha Centauri.

  28. Let’s see, for the last million years or so earth’s climate has followed an approximately 100,000 year ice-age cycle, consisting of glacial advance (about 90,000 years) followed by a brief interglacial (about 10,000 years). So in 1.5 million years when this star gets close, we will have been through about 15 more of these cycles …

  29. “It even has one chance in 1,000 of approaching close enough… In 1.5 million years… I’m so scared!”
    Atually even if the star just passes through the Oort cloud the results on Earth will be fairly drastic. A very large number of comets will be perturbed into the solar system, and a number of them will end up hitting Earth.
    The last time we had such an episode with numerous impacts was during the Eocene about 35 million years ago. Earth switched from a hothouse to an icehouse climate at about the same time, but nobody knows if there is a connection.

  30. If humanity is to survive as a species, we’ve got to get off this planet and colonise the solar system. Our odds of survival increases at that point. If we don’t, expect homo sapiens to become extinct. Like the dinosaurs. It’s all well and good to contemplate our navels but you have to look around once in a while. The universe is a hostile place and we’ve been very lucky so far.

  31. This may be the best thing that could happen to us. We know are sun is not going to last forever so this could give us the chance to select a sun that has a longer life. Given the time, we should be able to move the earth and other planets where they can be picked up by the new star.

  32. Kath,
    Why can’t we bombard Mars with seedlings, fungus, etc. that will grow in the Martian environment? It will probably take a few hundred years to get that garden going (i.e., to start an active hydro/carbon cycle on Mars).

  33. ….and factoring in the rotation of the earth and some wobbling, etc. The star is going to hit France first!

  34. RhudsonL (00:35:25) :
    Thank God we have supermodels

    Are they issuing superforecasts?

    Dena (09:45:13) :
    … Given the time, we should be able to move the earth and other planets where they can be picked up by the new star.

    Planetary constraint detected.

  35. Well, as an atheist I’ll be dead by then, but I feel for my Christian friends who’ll have to tend with this.

  36. Dena (09:45:13) :
    Given the time, we should be able to move the earth and other planets where they can be picked up by the new star.
    What you need is my new invention:
    The Acme Planet Pump.
    —–
    The other day I was explaining to one of our local wardens why I was displaying a parking badge 4 years out of date; because it was probably done on a program using 256 colours, and in 252 years it will come round again. Now suppose I’m wrong, and the program was 1.5 million colours? Damn!

  37. Maybe we can divert the yuppie attention to diverting a star instead of diverting climate change. At least with diverting a star, we’d have a space program for the next 1.5 million years.

  38. WEll here’s hoping it gets a lot closer than that, because we are going to need its earthlike planets to go and colonize; since we arte likely to pass peak oil around the time it gets here; and will be needing more energy. But we’ll still be working on free clean green renewable energy along with thermonuclear fusion energy; which a mill years form now will be at the head of the pack of the “Energy of the Future” race.
    Well y’alls have a good time with your new star home; I’ll pass on waiting for that.

  39. If the heliopause is constructed as a shell of expanded solar wind, the free electrons on the outer fringes of both stars heliopauses will be mutually repellent. The question then is, are the combined repulsive deflection generating forces enough to keep them from colliding by more than balancing the force of gravity between them.
    Then on the other hand we should be able to better evaluate the solar system barycenter hypothesis as the interaction shifts /or not / the balance of the sun around which pivot point? I would expect that as soon as the effects are felt on the climate via the changes in the tidal forces from the incoming star, as it shifts the orbital patterns from the normals now, way before there is a chance of impact from disturbed bodies in the Oort clouds.
    (god little hadron collider in action?)

  40. On second thought surfing will be great during the orbital period that we make closest approach and the annual “Tidal wave season” gives the surfers something exciting to do.

  41. @supercritical:
    “Thanks for the answers. Given that red shift doesn’t count in our galaxy, then how can they tell whether this object is coming or going?”
    Count isn’t really an appropriate term here. Red/blue shift applies everywhere, its a bit like the doppler effect (the way a police siren is higher in pitch when approaching you then is lower after it passes) but with light. If a star is moving away from us then it’s light will have a slightly lower frequency than would be expected (absorption frequencies of specific elements can be used to measure this) and so it’s colour is shifted redwards. If a star is moving towards us then all the frequencies go up and the colour is a little bluer.
    The stars we can see are simply orbiting the core of our galaxy just as we are, not all are orbiting at the same speed though and nor are most on circular orbits so there’s plenty of relative towards and away movements between stars going on. A similar thing applies to galaxies in our local group. Our nearest galaxy, Andromeda, is infact blue shifted, and as mentioned above, is on a possible collision course (the sideways velocity is hard to measure so it may miss). That’s not for 2-3 billion years however, so Gliese 710 is a more pressing concern…. 🙂
    For universe expansion, it is measured on galactic clusters and is shown by a strong correlation between distance and the amount of red shift and various theories explain this as the expansion of space and then we get into dark energy etc etc.

  42. Rotation creates and holds energy in density. Which being on an axis is 2 dimensional even though we have a 3 dimensional shape.
    Here is how energy is stored and density changes and compresses mass.
    Take a wheel with spokes. On each spoke, put a light spring over the spoke. Then place a weight that can slide up and down this spoke.
    Make sure the weight is to the center side.
    Now rotate this wheel and the weight will compress the spring. Essentially compressing mass. When rotational energy is stop being applied, the stored energy is slowly released until it comes to a full stop.

  43. Is it Kosher to mingle your Oort cloud with passing strangers? I mean, if we start swapping bits of stuff with other stars, who knows where it might end. Perhaps some of the larger KBOs might get de-orbited a bit and leave the KBelt…
    We could end up with Pluto in an orbit free of KBOs and then we’d have to restore it to Planetary status (round due to gravity, orbiting sun, no junk in it’s orbit…)
    And just think what this will do to the astrological charts 😉

  44. supercritical:
    Stars in this galaxy are orbiting the mass center. As they do so, all are on orbits that cross paths with the orbits of others. It would be expected that two stars could be approaching the intersection of their orbits at the same time. With hundreds of billions of stars in the swarm, this would be a fairly common occurrence.
    In the same way, galaxies in clusters of galaxies are orbiting the mass center of the cluster. Some of these orbits come near the orbits of other galaxies and sometimes two galaxies are both approaching the intersection of their orbits, etc., etc.

  45. Supercrit: While the star is approaching, there is blue shift. After it passes, there will be a red-shift.

  46. If in 1.5 million years, we can’t deal with a barrage (geologically speaking) of comets, we deserve what we get.

  47. While obviously not an immediate threat, the report is disturbing. A similar event is thought to have happened about 3.8 billion years ago, sending hundreds, and possibly thousands, of comets crashing through the solar system : the ‘Late Heavy Bombardment’.
    Most of the impact craters we see on the moon and elsewhere in the solar system date from this time. It is thought that most of the water on Earth came from these icy comets – there were a LOT of them!
    If this happened again it would most likely sterilise the surface of the Earth, and possibly destroy higher life forms in the seas and oceans. Although life seems to be ‘built in’ to the universe we do not know how common complex multi-cellular life forms are, such as plants and animals. Life as it is on Earth may be fairly unique, so it would be sad to think of it being destroyed.
    _______________
    When the Andromeda galaxy merges with the Milky Way in about 4 billion years time the probability of suns colliding is actually very low, so the Sun may be totally unaffected. However our sun will be approaching its red giant stage so Earth would be toast anyway [literally!]. I had hoped that complex lifeforms on Earth would at least have until this time [and preferably longer by finding ways to move round our galaxy!]

  48. I hope that by the time all this transpires that they (whoever ‘they’ are) are finally able to use this event to:
    a. Get all the planets on the same plane (or is that plain)
    b. Terraform Venus and put Pluto in orbit as it’s moon
    c. Collide Saturn with, and ignite Jupiter so we can have a second star in the sky.
    d. Move the Moon closer to speed up Earth’s rotation and shorten the day (would probably cool things off a little too).
    e. Use the debris of the asteroid belt and the two moons of Mars
    to give folks on that planet something decent to look at from the surface at night.
    If I only had more time I could think of a thousand things for them (whoever ‘them’ is) to do.

  49. I believe we can avert this disaster by implementing an immediate tax on oil companies and banks as well as increasing all income taxes across the board. We should then give tax credits to all minorities and under employed since they will be the most affected by a red dwarf in the solar system.
    Next, billions of dollars should be sent to universities to study the phenomenon and we should create the UN IPRD to propose further recommendations.

  50. That day in 1,500,000 years when Gliese 710 comes by wouldn’t happen to fall on a weekend would it. I hate when weekends get interrupted.

  51. I can almost imagine a science fiction story where everyone agrees to a plan of universal sterilization and gentile suicide as the ‘Death Star’ approaches to disrupt the solar system and then in the last moment it is knocked off course by an unseen errant black hole.

  52. The life expectancy of the planet and humans on earth is finite, we all know that, we just do not know how the end will come, or when.
    One of the arguments for the space program back in the day was to ensure the survival of the human race when the inevitable happens.
    They say we would need 20-30 years just to get back to the moon. I am not optimistic, but then I won’t be around, so good luck to those down the road. Maybe humans will evolve into something worth saving and be smarter than the current model, if not, good riddance.
    Meanwhile the war on mans CO2 continues.

  53. I think well get to it before it gets to us. 1.5 million years is nothing. I already know people working on interstellar spaceships that could get there.
    I’m sure someone with an astronomy degree will get him self up loaded before then and will be sitting around waiting for the show 1.5 million years later.

  54. Pascvaks (18:50:25) :
    I hope that by the time all this transpires that they (whoever ‘they’ are) are finally able to use this event to:
    b. Terraform Venus and put Pluto in orbit as it’s moon
    If I only had more time I could think of a thousand things for them (whoever ‘them’ is) to do.
    Actually ‘they/them’ includes me. I’m already writing about colonising and terraforming Venus. In that order. Its not that far off technologically.
    See http://appliedimpossibilies.blogspot.com/2010/01/venusian-dreams.html
    We could live in airships in the upper atmosphere, above the acid clouds but feeding on them and controling robot miners on the surface. Then you start terraforming with aerostatic plants. I would expect the first Venus Colony to be about 2070 or so.
    PS a preview button would help on these posts Anthony.

  55. Pascvaks (18:50:25) :
    I hope that by the time all this transpires that they (whoever ‘they’ are) are finally able to use this event to:
    b. Terraform Venus and put Pluto in orbit as it’s moon
    If I only had more time I could think of a thousand things for them (whoever ‘them’ is) to do.

    Actually ‘they/them’ includes me. I’m already writing about colonising and terraforming Venus. In that order. Its not that far off technologically.
    See http://appliedimpossibilies.blogspot.com/2010/01/venusian-dreams.html
    We could live in airships in the upper atmosphere, above the acid clouds but feeding on them and controling robot miners on the surface. Then you start terraforming with aerostatic plants. I would expect the first Venus Colony to be about 2070 or so.
    PS a preview button would help on these posts Anthony.

  56. RE: Wikipedia Article “Extrasolar planet”
    “… By contrast, most known exoplanets with longer orbital periods have quite eccentric orbits. This is not an observational selection effect, since a planet can be detected about equally well regardless of the eccentricity of its orbit.”
    I would think that the most plausible explanation for such eccentric orbits is a close encounter with another star. I think we have been lucky that our solar system has not yet had any such encounter and is not likely to have one for a very long time.

  57. “Clayton Hollowell (18:27:42) :
    If in 1.5 million years, we can’t deal with a barrage (geologically speaking) of comets, we deserve what we get.”
    True dat.

  58. RACookPE1978 (00:06:36) :
    1.5 million, eh?
    So, will the icecaps have melted between now and then, according to the latest revision of the latest revision of the global warming computer models.
    This does tend to make the eventual red-giant phase of the sun less troubling.

    The forecast for the period of present to 1.5 million years is a continued Quaternary Ice Age with alternating glacial and inter-glacial periods in additional glacial stages. The present ice age is forecast to end not earlier than some few tens of millionsof years, unless another heavy bombardment occurs.
    The Sun’ luminosity may be expected to increase by about 10% during the next 1100 million years. By then the Earth’s hydrosphere will be transformed into water vapor. As the Sun loses mass the planets will migrate to new orbits farther away from the Sun, except for Mercury which is vaporized and consumed by the Sun. The Earth’s new orbits will move outwards to the vicinity of where Mars is today.

  59. The ghost of Big Jim Cooley (00:42:57) :
    “What descendants?”
    _____________________________________________________________________
    I suspect cockroaches will still be around.

  60. I wonder if we’ll hitch a ride before the sun goes red giant?
    Hitchhiker’s guide to the stars?
    Maybe it’ll keep the vogons from destroying us.

  61. Forget about Gliese 710, an ever greater worry is Dark Flow which will Sweep away our neighbouring galaxies along with the Milky Way.

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