Archive for January 6, 2015

01/06/2015 – Ephemeris – Star to stir up solar system’s comets, but you’re gotta wait a bit.

January 6, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, January 6th.  The sun will rise at 8:19.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 57 minutes, setting at 5:17.   The moon, 2 days past full, will rise at 7:12 this evening.

In about a quarter to half a million years from now a star with the name HIP 85605 will pass through the  Oort cloud of comets that is the extreme outer part of the solar system.  The star’s name comes from the Hipparcos catalog created from data from the European satellite which created improved distances of nearby stars.  HIP 85605 star is nearby and very faint.  The star should pass through the Oort cloud twice, coming and going.  What happens is the star will tend to scatter small bodies in its wake, throwing some comets in toward the sun and others it will eject from the solar system.  There were all kinds of scare headlines out of this.  Something like this “Will a comet shower end life on the Earth?”  No it won’t.  This kind of thing happens every few million years.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.


Scale of the solar system

NASA diagram of the solar system on a logarithmic scale. Each interval is ten times longer than the one on the left. On this scale the star HIP 85605 will penetrate to the inner part of the Oort cloud.  Click to enlarge.

Tip o’the old astronomer’s cap to Universe Today where I found this story.