JUN 14, 2017 05:32 AM PDT

Does the Sun Have a Twin?

Many of us take the Sun for granted as the big ball of light in the sky that produces the heat on Earth necessary for life to exist, but scientists now say it’s possible our Sun could have a twin.

Does our Sun have a long-lost twin dubbed Nemesis?

Image Credit: LoganArt/Pixabay

Albeit not an identical twin, a new paper from Harvard and UC Berkley researchers is now available on arXiv.org and has been accepted for publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that suggests all or most stars similar to our Sun are born in sets. More importantly, our Sun was probably no different.

If it sounds weird, that’s because we’re not used to hearing that there might have been two stars in our Solar System at one point in time. Nevertheless, these scientists seem convinced that such a stellar twin has since drifted off into interstellar space and is now residing somewhere else in our Milky Way galaxy.

Experts are calling the missing companion star ‘Nemesis,’ and say that it’s probably still out there, somewhere.

Related: Hubble captures the moments of a spectacular star explosion

As it turns out, stars like our Sun are commonly born in sets of two or sometimes three inside of dense cores, which are egg-shaped clouds. To test their theory, researchers studied the Purseus nursery and found that almost all of the young stars aged 500,000 years or younger were separated by around 500 astronomical units or more and were aligned with the long axis of these dense cores.

“We are saying, yes, there probably was a Nemesis, a long time ago,” said co-author Steven Stahler, a UC Berkeley research astronomer.

“We ran a series of statistical models to see if we could account for the relative populations of young single stars and binaries of all separations in the Perseus molecular cloud, and the only model that could reproduce the data was one in which all stars form initially as wide binaries. These systems then either shrink or break apart within a million years.”

Related: There are only 7 stars like this one in the entire Milky Way galaxy

Even neighboring stellar systems like Alpha Centauri have stellar twins; although the stars aren’t identical, it’s a part of a triplet system.

There’s no hard evidence that every stellar system is born with companions, so this theory is certainly just that, but as astronomers focus on younger stellar systems, they are finding more and more companions than in older systems, which seems to have implications favoring the theory.

Related: A distant star might be on a crash course with our Solar System

More research into the development of stellar systems and the physics that rips them apart is needed to understand if or how Sun-like stars are really born in clusters like this and what makes them part over time. Perhaps it could even help us locate our Sun's long-lost twin, if there is one.

Source: Berkley News

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUN 19, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUN 19, 2018
Watch the Heart of the ESA's ExoMars Rover Endure Stress Testing
The European Space Agency plans to send its ExoMars rover to Mars in 2020 to explore the red planet’s surface for signs of past (or present) life. Bu...
JUL 23, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUL 23, 2018
Earth is Pretty Small Compared to Everything Else in Space
To you and I, the Earth might seem like a large place. But in astronomical terms, our planet is actually quite small. Comparatively, the gas giant planets...
AUG 22, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
AUG 22, 2018
The Universe is Expanding, But How Fast?
Since the Big Bang, our universe has never ceased expanding. The rate of cosmic expansion, now known as the Hubble Constant, was first defined by Belgian a...
SEP 11, 2018
Space & Astronomy
SEP 11, 2018
Lunar Rock Samples Collected by the Apollo Astronauts May Not Tell the Moon's Entire Story
While some researchers study our planet to learn more about its history and formation, other researchers focus their efforts on alternative bodies in the s...
SEP 16, 2018
Space & Astronomy
SEP 16, 2018
NASA Launches ICESat-2 Satellite to Study Earth's Ice Loss with Lasers
A United Launch Alliance-branded Delta II rocket took to the skies from a Vandenberg Air Force Base, California-based launch pad on Saturday to deploy NASA...
SEP 19, 2018
Space & Astronomy
SEP 19, 2018
RemoveDebris Spacecraft Successfully Nets a Piece of Space Junk
Experts approximate that there’s around 7.5 metric tons’ worth of space junk swirling around our planet. Most of this junk is comprised of dead...
Loading Comments...