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Artwork of Nemesis, hypothetical companion of Sun

Artwork of Nemesis, hypothetical companion of Sun

R300/0095

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Credit

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Nemesis. Artwork of Nemesis, the alleged dim comp- anion star of the Sun. Nemesis borders between be- ing a red & brown dwarf, obtaining energy by grav- itational contraction & sporadic nuclear reactions in its core. It is passing through a cloud of ice lumps in deep space (Oort cloud), and perturbing the orbits of some of them so that they become tailed comets which head towards our Sun (at upper left). Nemesis is claimed to have 10% of the Sun's mass & to orbit our Sun every 30 million years at a distance of 0.3 to 1.4 light years. Impacts on Earth by the comets it creates could be the cause of mass extinctions. Extensive searches have failed to find Nemesis, & it is unlikely to exist.

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