Why is Sedna there? With such an elliptical orbit that stretches out past even that of it’s trans-Neptunion brother Pluto in the Kuiper Belt all the way to the Oort Cloud edges of our solar system, what’s holding it in the gravitational grasp of the Sun? Many Astronomers surmised that the Sun was not alone in locking Sedna’s revolution–whose aphelion [farthest point] is 937 AU’s away, that’s 937 times farther than the 93,000,000 miles Earth is from the sun, a whopping 87,141,000,000 miles–but that it has help from a less impressive brown or red dwarf companion. To think that we’re in a binary star system is not so far fetched, given that approximately half the stars visible from our Earthly vantage point are in a binary or multiple star system, however our Sun’s hypothesized twin, dubbed the ominous “Nemesis Star” is a theorized scapegoat for mass extinctions here on Earth, including our chomptacular Jurassic Park friends.
The theory goes something like this: back in the 80s, a team of Geologist’s led by Richard Muller were researching possible causes of mass extinctions here on Earth and discovered said extinctions were cyclical in nature, happening in periods of 27 million years. Later, two independent teams of Astronomer’s published theory’s based on Muller’s idea, suggesting that a low-mass star was slowly orbiting a common center of mass between her and our Sun at the same rate; hypothesizing Nemesis disrupted the Oort Cloud and jarred many of it’s object’s out of their peaceful orbits, sending them rocketing toward Earth. Normally our massive protector Jupiter catches such wayward objects and adds them to his extensive collection of space rocks, locking them into his own orbit around the Sun, however Nemesis catches him off guard and overwhelms him.
If our Sun has an underdeveloped twin, why can’t we see her as Luke can on Tatooine? Scientists suggest Nemesis is most likely a red or brown dwarf, ranking her pitifully low on the mass-luminosity diagram, and in the case of a brown dwarf making it impossible to see her as she would be incapable of doing fusion and therefore cannot shine. How sad it must be for a star that cannot produce light, especially as a binary star companion–even if our Sun is only of average brightness. It’s no wonder than, as the overshadowed twin incapable of fulfilling her purpose, Nemesis demands the attention of her sister’s worshippers here on Earth with a meteoroid onslaught.
The search for Nemesis hasn’t produced results, however, neither NASA’s telescope 2MASS or explorer WISE have been able to locate a brown dwarf within 20 lightyears of our solar system, and more recent research suggests mass extinctions here on Earth aren’t nearly as reliably timed as was suggested. Opposing scientists argue Nemesis’ orbit would be much too unstable so far from her co-orbiter, and as such she would have been sent rouge out into the Universe or pulled away to join some more massive star’s system. Supporter’s remind us of Sedna, and if such a small planetoid could hold on to it’s inexplicable orbit, why not a twin sun? This is all conjecture, of course, and perhaps it’s just what our Sun’s seethingly jealous sister Nemesis want’s us to believe.
To date, she eludes detection and convinces many she is simply an anecdote, although, if she took down the dinosaurs and our human brethren were an itty bitty snack to a T-Rex, chances are she could just as easily wipe out fragile humanity too. I wouldn’t worry too much about it, though, her sister star the Sun is going to swell up to giant status in 5 or 6 billion years and burn us all up anyway– that is, if we aren’t cannibalized by our blue shifted neighbor Andromeda, or numerous other destructo collisions that might strike first.