Saturday, March 26, 2011

Our Sun is on a Collision Course with a Red Dwarf

Solar Flare 
Photo: NASA states that our sun is on a collision course with a Red Dwarf labeled Gliese 710, traveling at nearly 50 times the speed of sound! Fortunately, Earth inhabitants won’t likely have to worry about it for at least the next million years since it would take about that long to get a half a light year away from us. Perhaps in the future of our species some highly evolved Tom Cruise type will somehow save the day and get the girl just in time. More than likely, by the time the Red Dwarf is any real threat we will all have long ago been doused in liquid nitrogen and smashed by sound waves.
Gleise 710 isn't the only star headed our way either. In fact, there are at least 8 other stars moving towards our solar system. Sure, most are only expected to come a little closer than the 4.3 light years away our current neighbor, Proxima Centauri waits; but there is always the possibility that these stars have planets orbiting them. Further, these planets may even have life on them! So perhaps these otherworldly stars aren't on a collision course with us, but rather we are on a collision course with them! It is even a possibility that on one of these planets right now, some alien science geek is writing an article about a star named "Sol" and its expected arrival in the future! A possibility that may sound way more like a sci-fi plot than an actual hypothesis, but as scientist and writer Isaac Asimov once wrote, "Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today — but the core of science fiction, its essence, the concept around which it revolves, has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all."

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