Passage of Gliese, A Nearby Star within 1 Light-Year
Every 50,000 years, a nomadic star passes near our solar system. Most of the time, they pass by without any event. But sometimes, they come so close that they’re visible in Earth’s night sky. Close stellar encounters are very rare and typically occur on timescales of millions of years. The last one would have been while the Neanderthals were wandering on the planet.
According to Astronomy, “The most famous of these stellar interlopers is called Scholz’s Star. This small binary star system was discovered in 2013. Its orbital path indicated that, about 70,000 years ago, it passed through the Oort Cloud, the extended sphere of icy bodies that surrounds the fringes of our solar system.” In about 1.4 million years, Gliese 710 will pass very close to Earth as a brilliant orange globe, outshining every other star in the night sky (Astronomy).