Scholz's star, dim binary star system, consisting of a red dwarf and brown dwarf, in the constellation Monoceros, apparent magnitude 18.3. The red dwarf is a tiny star, with less than ten percent the mass of the sun; the brown dwarf lacks enough mass to promote fusion at its core. About 20 light-years away, it was discovered in 2013 by the astronomer Ralph-Dieter Scholz, and later determined to have come within 0.8 light-years of the solar system some 70,000 years ago, passing through the Oort cloud (see comet) in the closest known encounter of another star with the sun. Proxima Centauri (see Alpha Centauri), currently the closest star to the sun, is about 4.28 light-years away.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Astronomy: Stars