Guess What? Our Sun Has A Sibling!

By on

CCSS NAS-4 Word Search

A team of scientists led by University of Texas, Austin, astronomer Ivan Ramirez have identified a star that they believe is one of many siblings our sun has floating around the Universe. Formed 4.5 billion years ago from the same large interstellar cloud that gave birth to our sun, it is 15% larger and lies 110 light-years away in the constellation Hercules. Though not visible with the unaided eye, HD 162826 that lies close to bright star Vega, can be easily viewed with low-power binoculars.

The team began its research by investigating 30 possible candidates that had been found by various groups around the world that are also on similar quests. In addition to performing a chemical analysis of each star, they also studied their respective orbits before coming to the conclusion that HD 162826 was the one that had been born from the same gas and dust system as our sun.

Coincidentally, McDonald Observatory astronomers in West Texas have been studying HD 162826 for over 15 years - While they had no clue it was related to our sun, they do know that it does not have any hot Jupiter-sized planets orbiting close to the star. This however does not rule out the possibility that HD 162826 hosts some earth-size planets that harbor alien life.

While the find is certainly exciting, the team, who plan to publish their study in the June 1st edition of the Astrophysical Journal, believes this is just the first of many siblings our sun has. Professor Ramirez theorizes that 4.5 billion years ago, the sun was part of a cluster of a thousand or perhaps even hundred thousand stars. The cluster has since broken away and scattered to various parts of the Milky Way and mingled with the billions of other stars - Some like the HD 162826 have remained relatively close, whilst others are much farther away.

Though they will probably never be able to locate them all, if enough of the siblings can be found, the research team's 'dynamics specialists' will be able to run each star's orbits backwards in time and locate the place where they intersect. This will help solve the age-old mystery of how and where the sun was 'born'. According to the scientist, finding out what part of the galaxy we came from, may provide them with some clues about how our planet became hospitable to life.

Ramirez also believes that this may be the best way to locate other planets that can harbor life. He says that when the stars were in a dense cluster, massive collisions may have knocked off planetary chunks, and caused asteroids to travel between solar systems and possibly bring along building blocks of life. If that is true, there may be a other few siblings that have earth-like planets orbiting around, complete with aliens!


Generate citations in MLA, APA & Chicago formats for this article.

VocabularyPlay Game



Austin, Texas

Reading Comprehension (3 questions)

  1. How were scientists able to identify HD 162826 as the sibiling from the 30 candidates they were investigating?
  2. What are some of the things they know about HD 162826?

Critical Thinking Challenge

Do you think there is another world out there with life? Why or why not?...

  • 22xThursday, September 22, 2016 at 7:25 pm
    • Awesome111Sunday, September 18, 2016 at 5:48 pm
      Epic!! :-)
      • jodeeisawesome
        jodeeisawesomeWednesday, September 7, 2016 at 8:24 pm
        i didn't know that the sun has a sibling!!!!!
        • PAPYRUSTuesday, August 30, 2016 at 6:52 am
          I wonder If It's as HOT as the SUN
          • peters_881349
            peters_881349Thursday, November 10, 2016 at 5:19 pm
            I don't know, maybe you could do some more research.
          • PAPYRUSTuesday, August 30, 2016 at 6:49 am
            If It's Like The Sun I Wonder If It Has Its Own Planets Orbiting Around It
            • StephonioMonday, August 29, 2016 at 9:57 am
              The sun will live for 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.
              • peters_881349
                peters_881349Thursday, November 10, 2016 at 5:22 pm
                No I think that's a little exstreme
              • Just dance 2016Monday, August 29, 2016 at 6:24 am
                Cool to know
                • Johnny deptThursday, July 14, 2016 at 4:53 pm
                  good thing you did. i would pf nvr nown
                  • Rosalie Tuesday, May 24, 2016 at 10:59 am
                    if its a sibling then why is it not big like the real sun?!?
                    • cachetada
                      cachetadaTuesday, May 24, 2016 at 6:39 am
                      not the best

                      Our Apps and Plugins