At least 14 stars could one day pass relatively close by Earth
There are some 14 stars that may come dangerously close to Earth, but the good news is that that may not happen for at least 240,000 years or so.
Astronomers believe that, in the past, some stars have come close to Earth and helped to unleash a swarm of comets and asteroids, many of which may have hit Earth.
There is a large belt of debris orbiting the Sun, known as the Oort Cloud, beyond the orbit of Neptune. This cloud contains the original building blocks of the solar system.
When a stray star comes close to this cloud, it can force material away from it and towards our star and planet.
This is one of the theories as to how the Earth was impacted in the past!
One star that needs to be monitored is HIP-85605. This is a small orange dwarf star which is headed in our direction in some 240,000 years!
The star is 16 light years away. It will not hit Earth or the sun, but will get close enough to rattle the Oort Cloud.
Another star that will come relatively close is Gliese 710. The star is 64 light years from us and will close in on the Sun in 1.3 million years.
While all this seems to be the stuff of science fiction, a star known as Gamma Microscopii came close to Earth some 3 million years ago.
This star may have altered life on Earth with heavy bombardments of comets and asteroids.
Finally, we have well over 1,700 near earth objects that are asteroids that also come close to Earth. Some of these objects will one day impact life on Earth.
All this brought to you by the close passage of other stars in the galaxy!
To follow the sky with Dr.Sky, get your January star chart.