the planetary system around the red dwarf, Gliese 581
Getty Images

Alien Star Had a Close Call With Our Solar System

A red dwarf known as Scholz's star passed through the edge of our solar system less than a lightyear away from the sun about 70,000 years ago, according to a new paper.

In the paper, published in the journal The Astrophysical Journal Letters, scientists write that they believe the Scholz's star and its brown dwarf companion passed through the far part of our solar system called the outer Oort Cloud. There is no other known star that has come so close.

The scientists who spotted it needed to determine whether it was coming toward the solar system or flying away from it. Through their calculations, they were able to determine that the star is 20 light years away, BBC reports, and that it passed the solar system and is heading away. They estimated the flyby likely happened around 70,000 years ago.

There were concerns that the star could have affected with the gravitational orbits of the comets that reside in the Oort Cloud, but researchers concluded that its impact was "negligible."

PHOTOS: 20 Breathtaking Images of Earth From Space

Aleppo, Syria
Aleppo, Syria, May 26, 2013 – The Citadel of Aleppo – medieval fortified palaceDigitalGlobe—Getty Images
Aleppo, Syria
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Colorado River
Cuanza River, Angola
Doha, Qatar
Dunalley, Australia
Great Barrier Reef
Gwadar coast, Pakistan
Croatia
Hong Kong, China
Manam Volcano
Namib Desert, Namibia
Mount Vesuvius
Niger
Schooner Cays, Bahamas
Sochi, Russia
Near the city of Sur, Oman
Valencia, Spain
Versailles, France
Xi'an, China
Aleppo, Syria, May 26, 2013 – The Citadel of Aleppo – medieval fortified palace
DigitalGlobe—Getty Images
1 of 20
All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.