PipianJ writes: A recent preprint posted on arXiv by Vadim Bobylev presents some startling new numbers about a future close pass of one of our stellar neighbors. Based on studies of the Hipparcos catalog (Wikipedia), Bobylev suggests that the nearby orange dwarf Gliese 710 has an 86% chance of skirting the outer bounds of the Solar System and the hypothesized Oort Cloud, in the next 1.5 million years. As the Oort Cloud is thought to be the source of many long-period comets, the gravitational effects of Gliese's passing could send a shower of comets into the inner Solar System, threatening Earth. This news about Gliese 710 isn't exactly new, but it's one of the first times the probability of this near-miss has been quantified.
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