Astronomers Are Looking For Sun’s Lost Siblings

Posted: Apr 20 2018, 5:05am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 20 2018, 9:53am CDT , in Latest Science News


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Astronomers are Looking for Sun’s Lost Siblings
Credit: NASA

Researchers have revealed the DNA of more than 340,000 stars in the Milky Way, which could help them find the siblings of our sun

A group of astronomers has probed more than 340,000 stars in the Milky Way in a quest to find sun’s missing siblings. They believe that ‘DNA’ of these stellar structures could help them identify the stars that are born at the same time and place as the sun.

Stars are born inside clusters and have a chemical composition similar to their companions, but they drift away over time, making it difficult to find those connected to each other. Using the HERMES spectrograph at the Australian Astronomical Observatory's (AAO), researchers collected spectra for the 340,000 stars in an attempt to track their ancestry. Their work is part of ambitious Galactic Archaeology survey, called GALAH, which aims to uncover the formulation and evolution of galaxies. The first dataset from GALAH has been released to the public. GALAH will investigate more than a million stars over the course of its survey.

"No other survey has been able to measure as many elements for as many stars as GALAH," said Dr. Gayandhi De Silva from the University of Sydney and the HERMES instrument scientist who had overseen the major data release.

"This data will enable such discoveries as the original star clusters of the Galaxy, including the Sun's birth cluster and solar siblings - there is no other dataset like this ever collected anywhere else in the world.”

The DNA of each star contains nearly two dozen chemical elements such as oxygen, aluminum, and iron and it can be analyzed through starlight. The light from the star is collected by the telescope and then sent to an instrument called a spectrograph, which splits the light into detailed rainbows or spectra and reveal the amount of each element in a star.

"Each chemical element leaves a unique pattern of dark bands at specific wavelengths in these spectra, like fingerprints.” Associate Professor Daniel Zucker, from AAO, said.

Although no sibling star for our sun has been found yet, researchers will continue their search and hope to find more clues about these lost stars.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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