Scholz's star

Scholz's star,

dim binary star system, consisting of a red dwarf and brown dwarfbrown dwarf,
in astronomy, celestial body that is larger than a planet but does not have sufficient mass to convert hydrogen into helium via nuclear fusion as stars do. Also called "failed stars," brown dwarfs form in the same way as true stars (by the contraction of a swirling
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, in the constellation Monoceros, apparent magnitudemagnitude,
in astronomy, measure of the brightness of a star or other celestial object. The stars cataloged by Ptolemy (2d cent. A.D.), all visible with the unaided eye, were ranked on a brightness scale such that the brightest stars were of 1st magnitude and the dimmest stars
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 18.3. The red dwarf is a tiny star, with less than ten percent the mass of the sun; the brown dwarf lacks enough mass to promote fusion at its core. About 20 light-years away, it was discovered in 2013 by the astronomer Ralph-Dieter Scholz, and later determined to have come within 0.8 light-years of the solar system some 70,000 years ago, passing through the Oort cloud (see cometcomet
[Gr.,=longhaired], a small celestial body consisting mostly of dust and gases that moves in an elongated elliptical or nearly parabolic orbit around the sun or another star. Comets visible from the earth can be seen for periods ranging from a few days to several months.
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) in the closest known encounter of another star with the sun. Proxima Centauri (see Alpha CentauriAlpha Centauri
, brightest star in the constellation Centaurus and 3d-brightest star in the sky; also known as Rigil Kent or Rigil Kentaurus; 1992 position R.A. 14h39.1m, Dec. −60°49'. Its apparent magnitude is −0.26.
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), currently the closest star to the sun, is about 4.28 light-years away.
References in periodicals archive ?
The system, dubbed WISE 0720a0846 or the Scholz's star, passed at a distance of about 0.8 light years through the Oort cloud which surrounds the sun and hosts icy trans-Neptunian objects.
The team used a combination of position and motion data gathered by Adam Burgasser (University of California, San Diego) and others to simulate 10,000 orbits for the M dwarf WISE J072003.20-084651.2, called Scholz's Star. Of all those simulations, 98% had the star passing through the outer Oort Cloud.
It's possible, the researchers speculate, that humans at the time--some of whom were wandering out of Africa--could have seen Scholz's star flicker into view for a few minutes or hours.