New York, May 10 IANS | 6 months ago

Did you know that our sun has a sister that lives in a constellation more than 100 light years away from us?

The finding may be a step towards discovering extra-terrestrial life, scientists said.

A team of researchers led by astronomer Ivan Ramirez of the University of Texas - Austin has identified the first "sibling" of the sun - a star almost certainly born from the same cloud of gas and dust as our star.

"We want to know where we were born," Ramirez said.

"If we can figure out in what part of the galaxy the sun was formed, we can constrain conditions on the early solar system. That could help us understand why we are here," he said.

Additionally, there is a chance, "small, but not zero", that these solar sibling stars could host planets that harbour life, Ramirez said.

"So it could be argued that solar siblings are key candidates in the search for extra-terrestrial life," Ramirez said.

Stars like the sun are born in stellar nurseries, with a thousand siblings. Over time, the family disbands.

The star, known as HD 162826, is about 15 percent bigger than the sun and located about 110 light-years away in the constellation Hercules.

They also tracked HD 162826's past orbits around the centre of the Milky Way to discover its link with the sun.

Of the 30 potential sibling stars, "only the star HD 162826 satisfies both our dynamical and chemical criteria for being a true sibling of the sun", lead author Ivan Ramirez wrote in the paper.

(Posted on 10-05-2014)

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