A passing star shifting Neptune’s orbit could wreck the

If a star flying past our solar system moved Neptune’s orbit by just 0.1 per cent, it could eventually cause the other planets to smash into one another or get thrown out of the solar system entirely


6 July 2022

Planet Neptune in the Starry Sky of Solar System in Space with image elements furnished by NASA.

If a passing star pushed Neptune a tiny bit further from the sun, it could eventually throw the solar system into chaos


If a neighbouring star gets too close, it could drive our solar system into pandemonium. This may be obvious for encounters that immediately shift the planets by a significant amount, but new simulations suggest that it can happen even when the stellar fly-by itself only has a small effect – as it can later snowball into major instability.

Garett Brown and Hanno Rein at the University of Toronto, Canada, performed …

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