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stars become nothing? (on the way to earth)

Posted on 2012-03-10
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-03-28
is it possible/ does it happen that
stars come towards earth (perhaps collision path)

but then they burst and just become remains and never hit anything?
Question by:25112
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Assisted Solution

jax79sg earned 400 total points
ID: 37704386
Thats one interesting question i seldom see in EE.
I am no expert in this but i think it would be fun engaging in questions like these.

To my understanding, many star systems (such as our very own Solar system) form into clusters known as galaxies. Our solar system resides in the Milkyway Galaxy. In the universe there lies a huge number of galaxies, each having their own star systems. Each Star system actually resides a huge distance away from each other, but they are orbiting around the galaxy they reside within, much like how our moon orbits Earth, and how our planets orbit the Sun.

Having said that, i think it would suffice to say that collisions are not necessarily impossible, but the odds are miniature. But there has been concrete observations that galaxies have collided with each other in the distant past, with the larger galaxy absorbing the smaller one. So, anything is possible but it probably won't happen in our lifetime.
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Assisted Solution

by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 400 total points
ID: 37704407
It would be unlikely that they would just disappear.  Stars, like our sun, are massive objects many times the size of Earth.  If one was heading towards us on a collision course and it blew up, there would still be a lot of matter heading our way.  Since things spread out when they explode, you would have to know how far away it was when it blew up to know if there would be any danger to us.  If it still looked tiny like a star, it may not affect us.  If it looked big like our sun, it would probably wipe out everything we know of.
LVL 27

Assisted Solution

aburr earned 400 total points
ID: 37705383
"is it possible/ does it happen that
stars come towards earth (perhaps collision path)"
the short answer is no.
If a star were to wander into the region og the solar system it would not feel the effect of the earth at all. It would be influenced by the sun only (true the earth would have a little effect but it would be so small as to be unobservable because the sun is so much more massive than the earth.) Suns do collide. See the NASA web site for pictures.

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Accepted Solution

scrontch earned 400 total points
ID: 37706409
25112 (original poster),
may it be that you mix up real stars ( with what are popularly called "shooting stars" or "falling stars", that come down the earth atmosphere?
The latter are called meteors (
Those are insignificantly tiny objects in comparison and have nothing to do with the big stars.

As for collisions of real stars, as said, the probability for this is nearly zero.
Even in huge galaxy collision simulations, the number of stars that actually collide (or come even close enough) is insignificant. There is just too much of empty space out there.

aburr wrote:
>> Suns do collide. See the NASA web site for pictures.
Stars may cannibalize/swallow each other after millions of years together in a close binary system, but never heard of any "head on" star-star-collision.
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Assisted Solution

tliotta earned 400 total points
ID: 37712772
is it possible/ does it happen that stars come towards earth (perhaps collision path)

Picture yourself standing at the southwest corner of a soccer field that runs north and south. (You'll be to the west of the net at your end of the field.) And then picture someone else standing on the other side of the net at the southeast corner.

Both of you have BB guns and you're both shooting at the net on the north end of the field. (Assume that your BB guns are powerful enough to get that far.)

The likelihood of a BB from your gun hitting one of the BBs from the other gun are pretty slim. You'll both probably have to shoot a lot of BBs before enough of them end up on the ground so that one ever hits a BB from the other gun.

Now make it a little more difficult so that the two of you try to shoot at the same time so that the BBs from the same shots collide with each other when they get into the net at the other end.

With stars, they're all mostly going in the same direction, kind of like two BBs headed along the soccer field. That is, in our galaxy, stars orbit around the center of the galaxy. It all can look like they're floating in a whirlpool going round and round the center. They're not going in exactly the same direction, but the motions are pretty similar.

That tends to make it difficult for them to collide at all.

But distances between our solar system and other stars are much more than the distances between BBs in flight along a soccer field. With so much distance and with similar direction, we can almost totally ignore collisions between another star and our solar system. Any impending collisions are probably so far off into the future that there's no reason to think that "humans" will still be around if it ever happens. (Technically, I suppose there might be an undetected red dwarf or some star like that that hasn't been detected yet and that might be close enough to cause problems while human life continues.)

But that stuff is just thinking about the basic setup about "stellar collisions" and the Earth.

but then they burst and just become remains and never hit anything?

"Burst"? That's kind of an unusual word to use when talking about stars. Anything that a star does that would be like bursting would be perhaps just as dangerous to us if it hadn't "burst" and the star just kept coming. The energy from a "burst" would make a real mess of everything.

Actually, the danger from a star "bursting" somewhere in the stellar neighborhood around us is much more of a concern than any collision. There is some danger that at least one star -- WR-104 -- may raise such a concern. It's perhaps 8000 light-years away from us, so collision isn't a part of it. But a possible "burst" (gamma-ray burst) gets into thoughts of what a "burst" means.

Two stars don't have to be very close to each other for one star system to be affected by a "bursting" by the other one.


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ID: 37780103
wow wow wow.. breath taking...

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