Nemesis is a theoretical dwarf star thought to be a companion to our sun. The theory was postulated to explain a perceived cycle of mass extinctions in Earth's history. Scientists speculated that such a star could affect the orbit of objects in the far outer solar system, sending them on a collision course with Earth. While recent astronomical surveys failed to find any evidence that such a star exists, a 2017 study suggests there could have been a "Nemesis" in the very ancient past. In the early 1980s, scientists noticed that extinctions on Earth seemed to fall in a cyclical pattern. Mass extinctions seem to occur more frequently every 27 million years. The long span of time caused them to turn to astronomical events for an explanation.
If Nemesis traveled through the Oort cloud every 27 million years, some argue, it could kick extra comets out of the sphere and send them hurling toward the inner solar system — and Earth. Impact rates would increase, and mass extinctions would be more common. The Kuiper Belt, a disk of debris that lies inside of the solar system, also has a well-defined outer edge that could be sheared off by a companion star. Researchers have found other systems where a companion star seems to have affected the shape of the debris disks. The dwarf planet Sedna lends further credence in the eyes of some to the existence of a companion star for the sun. With an orbit of up to 12,000 years, the planet presents a puzzle to many.
Scientists have suggested that a massive object such as a dim star could be responsible for keeping Sedna so far from the sun. Another theory is there is a huge ice giant, nicknamed "Planet Nine," that is at the edge of our solar system.
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