A recent study from the University of Toronto investigated what would happen if a wayward star happened to fly a little too close to our solar system. Scientists Garett Brown and Hanno Rein's project shines a light on the potentially devastating effects of minor shifts in the orbits of our neighboring planets. The team ran nearly, 3,000 simulations , of a potential stellar fly-by. The simulation helped the team examine the subsequent effects of such an event up to 4.8 billion years later.
According to the results, just a 0.1% shift in Neptune's orbit could plunge the whole solar system into complete chaos. The Byte reports that , 960 of the 3,000 simulations , resulted in insignificant changes. These weak perturbations don’t destroy the solar system immediately, they just wiggle it around a little bit, and over the next millions or billions of years something goes unstable, Hanno Rein, Scientist at the University of Toronto, via The Byte. That means that the catastrophic collapse of the solar system is a process that could take billions of years to reach a conclusion.
According to researchers, an event of this magnitude only occurs in our corner of the universe about once every 100 billion years. . The Byte suggests that while this might sound like a terrifying possibility, it is unlikely to occur any time soon.