Is the sun due for a cosmic family reunion?
A new survey of 1 million stars in the Milky Way galaxy could help astronomers link our sun to its long-lost siblings.
By Mindy Weisberger | SPACE.com
The survey will identify stellar „DNA“: the amounts of chemical elements — such as iron, aluminum and oxygen — that the stars contain. Astronomers could then use this data to find stars that emerged from the same birth clusters in galaxies‘ stellar nurseries, thereby matching stars to their „birth families,“ according to a statement released by The University of Sydney, one of several institutions participating in the astronomical survey. [What Will Happen to Earth When the Sun Dies?]
When the universe formed after the Big Bang, only two elements were present: hydrogen and helium. Elements that emerged later helped to shape stars and planets, making it possible for life to take hold on Earth. This new survey is measuring elements in more stars than in any previous project and at an unprecedented level of precision, which will help astronomers understand how galaxies form and change over time, university representatives said.