Solar Twins

The sun is the single most important entity in our galaxy, without this everything would still be in the dark, and that makes life on Earth an impossibility.

Recent research has shown that most stars come in twos and threes. Even our sun probably had a non-identical twin. This twin that scientists dubbed Nemesis probably had the same orbit as our own sun, but at some point, it diverged from its path and drifted off into the unknown. So, most stars have twins or even two of them, but it is still unclear what exactly happens to them over time.

An analysis conducted by researchers from the universities of Harvard and UC-Berkley revealed that all stars are born like this – every one of them has a twin, even our own sun. This information has been gathered by observing the birth of new stars within the constellation Perseus.

Even the birth of these stars is fascinating. Every star is born within clouds called dense cores. These dusty clouds of gas are usually egg-shaped and are so thick that they block light coming from inside and behind the newborn stars. The great thing about radio waves is that they can penetrate these clouds and gives insight into occurrences that were previously unrecorded. In 2017, the Very Large Array was able to map all the stars within the Perseus constellation using radio waves. This information was then used to better understand what kind of relationship the stars of different ages have.

An interesting fact about these stars is that some binary ones are separated by distances equal to or greater than 500 AU. To put that into perspective, 500 AU is 500 times the distance measured between the Earth and our galaxy’s sun. Additionally, all of these stars were extremely young. Some of them were even less than half a million years old. All the stars in these kinds of systems were aligned with the long axis of the impenetrable egg-shaped clouds.

The older stars within these systems are a different story altogether. The stars that are between 500,00 and a million years old were grouped much closer together. The distance measured between these stars started from 200 AU. Something else that was interesting about these stars was that these stars were in no particular alignment, as opposed to the younger stars.

The authors of the study were even able to create mathematical models that can explain the distribution of the stars in more detail. The only reasonable explanation is that all of the stars in these constellations start off with twins. As years pass by, a million of them to be more exact, these stars either split up or they edge ever closer. The estimate is that 60 percent of the stars split up while the remaining 40 percent get closer to each other.

This study confirms earlier computer simulations which showed a similar process. The simulations also showed that younger stars are far more likely to form binary pairs. Unfortunately, there is much more work to be done to confirm these claims with any form of certainty.

If these results are replicated in other star-forming clouds that may provide the evidence needed to prove these claims. This may also prove the theory that our sun had a twin which was located about 17 times farther away than Neptune. The name ‘Nemesis’ given to this evil twin is in place for a reason. The theory is that this very twin was the one that booted the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs on Earth.

Nemesis has never been found though, and if it indeed existed, it separated from our sun enough to escape its gravitational pull and never be seen again.

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