News / Science & Technology

Astronomers Discover Sun's 'Sibling'

Solar sibling HD 162826 is not visible to the unaided eye, but can be seen with low-power binoculars near the bright star Vega in the night sky. (Ivan Ramirez)
Solar sibling HD 162826 is not visible to the unaided eye, but can be seen with low-power binoculars near the bright star Vega in the night sky. (Ivan Ramirez)
Scientists say they have found what they’re calling the “first sibling” of the Sun.
 
Astronomer Ivan Ramirez of the University of Texas led a team which looked at two important “genetic” traits between the two stars.
 
Born of the same cloud of gas and dust as the Sun some 4.6 billion years ago, HD 162826 is a relative next door neighbor, 110 light-years away in the constellation Hercules.
 
HD 162826 is not visible to the naked eye, but can be seen with a pair of binoculars, scientists say.
 
It’s about 15 percent more massive than the Sun and has a slightly hotter surface temperature, researchers said.
 
To determine HD 162826’s relation to the Sun, the Texas scientists looked at stars in what is called the solar neighborhood, some 300-350 light years across.
 
They then determined which stars were on similar orbits around the center of the Milky way.
 
“The idea is we wanted to know where the star has been in the past,” Ramirez told VOA. “We had to turn the clock back.”
 
Finding 30 candidates which had been following a similar path around the galaxy as the Sun, scientists performed a chemical analysis of 23 of them using high-resolution spectroscopy.
 
Using both methods, the researchers arrived at the conclusion that HD 162826 is the Sun’s sibling.
 
One key result of this survey, they said, was to narrow down the elements to determine a possible relation among stars; highly variable chemical elements are influenced by where in the galaxy the star formed, Ramirez said.
 
“You can concentrate on certain key chemical elements that are going to be very useful,” Ramirez said in a statement, adding that the “elements barium and yttrium [are] particularly useful.”
 
How many other siblings could the Sun have?
 
“Based on this one detection, there could be a few hundred more siblings,” Ramirez said. “But they’re all going to be tiny stars that we can’t see so we can’t do a detailed chemical analysis.”
 
So far, no exoplanets have been observed orbiting  HD 162826, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there.
 
It just means there are no massive, Jupiter-like planets in that system, Ramirez said.
 
“Most likely it has exoplanets,”  Ramirez said. “We see planets everywhere and there’s no reason for it not to have them.”
 
He said there is a “small, but not zero” chance that solar siblings could host planets that support life.
 
“It could be argued that solar siblings are key candidates in the search for extraterrestrial life,” Ramirez said in a statement.

You May Like

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Video Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: An Nguyen from: Singapore
May 12, 2014 10:07 PM
It's great discovery to look for extraterrestrial life. That will help us to understand ourself more. We always wonder whether the human is unique in this universe. And we trying hard to find the answer.

by: Jim Whitted from: Carlin NV
May 11, 2014 3:43 PM
If a planet or moon has water, there could be life as WE know it.
But we live in a certain vibration. Keep in mind that all things in these Universes are alive. Different parts are in different vibrations.
Rocks are in a much lower vibration. Do not laugh, but consider.
Could we look into different vibrations to see a world of a different sort? Infra red, Xrays? Please do not get stuck in the learning and moving world of science. All things are moving, but in different speeds. Love and caring.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs