Astronomers Find the Sun's Solar Sibling

Posted on May 11, 2014

Location of HD 162826


Astronomers have found the Sun's solar sibling. The sibling star HD 162826 is located 110 light-years away in the constellation Hercules. The researchers, led by astronomer Ivan Ramirez of The University of Texas at Austin, say in a release that the star was "almost certainly born from the same cloud of gas and dust as our star."

Ramirez says in a statement, "We want to know where we were born. If we can figure out in what part of the galaxy the sun formed, we can constrain conditions on the early solar system. That could help us understand why we are here."

HD 162826 is 15% more massive than the Sun. In a lucky coincidence, The McDonald Observatory Planet Search team has been observing HD 162826 for more than 15 years. There could be small planet orbiting the star, but more massive planets (hot Jupiters) have been ruled out. HD 16282 can be seen with low-powered binoculars. The Sun could have more solar siblings out there, but they are not expected to be as close as HD 16282.

The research will be published in the June 1, 2014 issue of the The Astrophysical Journal.

Image: Ivan Ramirez/Tim Jones/McDonald Observatory