Scholz’s Star – a Binary Stellar System in the Constellation Monoceros

Scholz’s Star is a nearby star that passed through the Solar System’s Oort cloud approximately 70,000 years ago. It is a dim binary stellar system 22 light-years (6.8 parsecs) from the Sun, near the galactic plane in the constellation Monoceros. WISE 0720-0846 is another name for it. Ralf-Dieter Scholz, an astronomer, discovered it in 2013.

This binary star system is now approximately 17–23 light-years (5.1–7.2 parsecs) away from the Sun. It is located near the Galactic plane in the southern constellation Monoceros. The primary star is a red dwarf with a mass 862 times that of Jupiter. The secondary star is most likely a T5 brown dwarf. The system has a solar mass of 0.15. The system has an apparent magnitude of 18.3 and has been around for 3–10 billion years.

Scholz’s Star is a dim binary stellar system 22 light-years from the Sun in the constellation Monoceros near the galactic plane. It was discovered in 2013 by astronomer Ralf-Dieter Scholz.

Every 100,000 years or so, stars pass through the Oort cloud. It will take approximately two million years for comets disturbed by the Oort cloud to reach the inner Solar System. Eric Mamajek and colleagues named the system Scholz’s Star after it passed through the Solar System’s Oort cloud roughly 70,000 years ago.

Characteristics

The primary is a red dwarf with a stellar classification of M91 and a mass of 862 Jupiter. The secondary is most likely a T5 brown dwarf with a mass of 6512 Jupiter. The system has a solar mass of 0.15. The pair orbits each other at a distance of about 0.8 astronomical units (120,000,000 kilometers; 74,000,000 miles) for about 4 years. The apparent magnitude of the system is 18.3 and its age is estimated to be between 3 and 10 billion years. Around 80 star systems are known to be closer to the Sun, with a parallax of 166 mas (0.166 arcseconds). As far as nearby stars go, it is a late discovery because previous efforts focused on high-property-motion objects.

Solar System flyby

On March 20, 2018, astronomers announced new evidence that the passage of Scholz’s star 70,000 years ago gravitationally disturbed our solar system’s comets and asteroids. The evidence, according to these researchers, can still be found in the movements of some of the objects affected by the stellar encounter.

According to estimates, the WISE 07200846 system passed about 52,000 astronomical units (0.25 parsecs; 0.82 light-years) away from the Sun about 70,000 years ago. The star system’s trajectory was predicted by 98% of mathematical simulations to pass through the Solar System’s Oort Cloud or within 120,000 AU (0.58 pc; 1.9 ly) of the Sun. Comets ejected from the Oort cloud would take approximately 2 million years to reach the inner Solar System.

The system would have had an apparent magnitude of about 11.4 at the closest approach and would have been best viewed from high latitudes in the northern hemisphere. A star is expected to pass through the Oort Cloud every 100,000 years or so. An approach as close or closer than 52,000 AU is expected to occur about every 9 million years.