Here's one more for the death by cosmic catastrophe camp. Eons ago, before our sun had planets orbiting around it, a wandering star passed by, nearly colliding with it. Using their respective tidal forces, the stars drew long, "flaming cigars of incandescent matter" from each other. The wandering star eventually withdrew, leaving the "flaming streamers" to form the planets in our solar system. Billions of years from now, another wandering star could venture toward our solar system, resulting in that same process. As the illustration shows, Earth would be caught between the two streamers, but not before Pluto, Neptune and Jupiter began to change their orbits. By that time, we'll have noticed that something's amiss -- the poles would shift, and our atmosphere would heat up from the exposure to two suns. Our oceans would turn into steam, day and night would cease existence, and our planet would vaporize like a drop of water within a furnace.
Read the full story in "How Will the World End?"