Could the Earth really leave the solar system? “It is very unlikely,” said Matteo Sirioti, aeronautical engineer and lecturer of space systems engineering at the University of Glasgow in the UK. However, as Sirioti explained, “unlikely” does not mean it is “impossible,” and suggested a way it could theoretically happen.
According to the “Space” website, Sirioti said: “The Earth can be moved away from its orbit by the work of a huge interstellar object, flying across outer space interstellar, enters the solar system and passes close to the Earth.
Sirioti added, “In this close encounter, known as the ‘fly’, the Earth and the object exchange energy, and the Earth’s orbit is disrupted. If the object is fast, massive and close enough, it can bring down Earth in escaping from an orbit directed outside the solar system.”
Timothy Davis, a senior lecturer in physics and astronomy at Cardiff University in the UK, agreed that the Earth could theoretically be kicked out of the solar system, and had his own hypothesis about how that might happen.
Davis added, “The planets, as they exist now, are in stable orbits around the sun. However, if the sun had a close encounter with another star, the gravitational interactions of these bodies could disturb these orbits, possibly causing disruption to the solar system.”
However, Davis noted that while such a scenario is possible, it is incredibly doubtful that it will happen, at least, for the foreseeable future.
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