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Transient star recently passed by solar system, study says
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Artist's conception of Scholz's star and its brown dwarf companion (foreground) during its flyby of the solar system 70,000 years ago. The Sun (left, background) would have appeared as a brilliant star. The pair is now about 20 light years away. - photo by Natalie Crofts
ROCHESTER, New York The solar system had a close call with a dim star about 70,000 years ago, according to a new study.

Researchers said the relatively recent visit is the closest a star has ever come to our solar system. Scholzs Star likely passed through the Oort Cloud of comets on the edge of the solar system, according to the study by an international group of astronomers published in The Astrophysical Journal.

Most stars this nearby show much larger tangential motion, co-author Eric Mamajek said in a statement. The small tangential motion and proximity initially indicated that the star was most likely either moving towards a future close encounter with the solar system, or it had recently come close to the solar system and was moving away.

Sure enough, the radial velocity measurements were consistent with it running away from the Suns vicinity and we realized it must have had a close flyby in the past, he said.

The star came within .8 light-years of Earth, which is five times closer than the current closest known star, Proxima Centauri, according to researchers. Proxima Centauri is 4.2 light-years away.

Scholzs Star is now about 20 light-years away, according to the study. It travels with a brown dwarf companion.
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