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Sun's long lost sibling has been discovered

Posted on Monday, 12 May, 2014 | Comment icon 23 comments

Our star is not alone. Image Credit: SOHO/EIT

A star that formed in the same stellar nursery as our Sun has been discovered 110 light years away.

Stars form not one at a time but in large numbers within huge interstellar clouds of gas and dust. Our own sun is believed to have anywhere up to 10,000 brothers and sisters but over billions of years these have all ended up on different paths to distant parts of the galaxy.

Now thanks to a new technique developed at the University of Texas however it has finally become possible to identify which stars those might be. Ivan Ramirez believes that he has found the first - a star located 110 light years away known as HD 162826.

"We were really just doing this as an experiment," he said. "The fact that we actually found it makes this even cooler." The method involves looking for signs of the chemical composition that all stars from the same stellar nursery share - a 'cosmic DNA' that can help identify them.

The fact that even a single one of the sun's siblings has been found within such close proximity of us is actually quite unexpected. "Estimates of how many we’d be likely to find here in the solar neighborhood have been quite pessimistic," said Ramirez.

Source: TIME | Comments (23)

Tags: Sun, Solar

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #14 Posted by Astra00 on 13 May, 2014, 8:21
Agree, how scathing
Comment icon #15 Posted by Frank Merton on 13 May, 2014, 8:57
Two things are pretty wonderful: that they are able to measure the chemical composition so well, especially of extremely rare molecules, and that they are able to trace back the orbit of the star through several galactic revolutions Except maybe for panspermia, I don't think this makes these stars significantly better as candidates for life than other similar stars born elsewhere. They will all be roughly the same age though, which might have a bearing.
Comment icon #16 Posted by regeneratia on 13 May, 2014, 19:29
I have almost always believed that our sun has a sister. I consider it's apogee and perigee is always in my thoughts when the topic of global warming comes into the conversation.
Comment icon #17 Posted by regeneratia on 13 May, 2014, 19:59
Just where did you explain that? I see no explaination thus far.
Comment icon #18 Posted by aka CAT on 14 May, 2014, 4:33
‘Cluster Planets’: What They Tell Us by PAUL GILSTER on JANUARY 15, 2014, i.e. henry cordova January 22, 2014 at 12:12 Henry Corova January 27, 2014 at 18:04 Henry Cordova January 23, 2014 at 23:45 kzb January 23, 2014 at 14:23 [...]There is a possibility with globular clusters that I find fascinating: there could be a large population of “delocalised planets”. A great many planets are thought to be ejected or caused to leave their birth system by close encounters in such clusters.
Comment icon #19 Posted by Frank Merton on 14 May, 2014, 4:55
The sun seems to have been born in a normal gas cloud evolving into an open cluster and then the stars dispersing because of random motions. That would imply the sun has dozens of siblings, if not thousands, scattered by now all around the galaxy. We are only likely to identify those that are by chance relatively nearby.
Comment icon #20 Posted by aka CAT on 14 May, 2014, 5:40
Comment icon #21 Posted by badeskov on 14 May, 2014, 10:26
Uhm, the explanation was right there. Did you even read it? Cheers, Badeskov
Comment icon #22 Posted by regeneratia on 16 May, 2014, 3:40
I suggest you go back over the thread. The explanation followed his statement that he explained it.
Comment icon #23 Posted by taniwha on 17 May, 2014, 23:33
I wonder if stars born in these clusters also 'hatch' in clusters similar to fish eggs all at the same time or even sub divide like biological cells. I guess these things arent known until we can actually witness one in action.

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