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Astronomers find Sun

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Hum    6,929

Astronomers studying a star nearly identical to our Sun ? a 'solar twin' ? have made some important discoveries, clearing up a mystery about the age and composition of the Sun, and possibly showing that this star has a planet system similar to our own.

Anyone looking for answers about our Sun can get a lot of help from 'solar twins'. By examining these stars, they can get an idea of whether the Sun is remarkable in some way, or if it's fairly typical. They can also see what our Sun was probably like in the past, and what it will possibly be like in the future.

One question that's been on astronomer's minds for awhile is whether or not there's a connection between a star's age and the amount of lithium they detect in it. Lithium is a fairly simply element, which was created along with hydrogen and helium during The Big Bang, and it would have been abundant in the materials that formed the Sun. However, now, the Sun has only a very small amount of lithium in it, roughly 1% the original amount. Higher amounts have been seen in younger stars, like 18 Scorpii, another solar twin in the study, but no specific connection to age could be made until now.

Recently astronomers gathered the light from a star called HIP 102152, which is located 250 light years away from us, in the constellation Capricornus. Their observations showed that this star could be called an identical twin of our Sun, except that it's much older (around 8.2 billion years old, or 3.6 billion years older than the Sun), and the amount of lithium they detected from it gives them the solid connection they were looking for.

"We have found that HIP 102152 has very low levels of lithium," said study lead author TalaWanda Monroe, of the Universidade de S?o Paulo, according to an ESO statement. "This demonstrates clearly for the first time that older solar twins do indeed have less lithium than our own Sun or younger solar twins. We can now be certain that stars somehow destroy their lithium as they age, and that the Sun's lithium content appears to be normal for its age."


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Growled    3,880

That's good to know. At least we don't have to worry about our sun going supernova or anything like that any time soon.

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