Oldest solar twin identified: New clues to help solve lithium mystery

Oldest solar twin identified: New clues to help solve lithium mystery

Astronomers have used ESO’s Very Large Telescope to study the oldest solar twin known to date. Located 250 light-years away, the star HIP 102152 is more like the Sun than any other solar twin — except that it is nearly four billion years older. This older twin may be host to rocky planets and gives us an unprecedented chance to see how the Sun will look when it ages.

via ScienceDaily: Top Science News:

Aug. 28, 2013 — A team led by astronomers in Brazil has used ESO’s Very Large Telescope to study the oldest solar twin known to date. Located 250 light-years away, the star HIP 102152 is more like the Sun than any other solar twin — except that it is nearly four billion years older. This older twin may be host to rocky planets and gives us an unprecedented chance to see how the Sun will look when it ages.Astronomers have only been observing the Sun with telescopes for 400 years — a tiny fraction of the Sun’s age of 4.6 billion years. It is very hard to study the history and future evolution of our star, but we can do this by hunting for rare stars that are almost exactly like our own, but at different stages of their lives. Now astronomers have identified a star that is essentially an identical twin to our Sun, but 4 billion years older — almost like seeing a real version of the twin paradox in action [1].Jorge Melendez (Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil), the leader of the team and co-author of the new paper explains: “For decades, astronomers have been searching for solar twins in order to know our own life-giving Sun better. But very few have been found since the first one was discovered in 1997. We have now obtained superb-quality spectra from the VLT and can scrutinise solar twins with extreme precision, to answer the question of whether the Sun is special.”The team studied two solar twins [2] — one that was thought to be younger than the Sun (18 Scorpii) and one that was expected to be older (HIP 102152). They used the UVES spectrograph on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at ESO’s Paranal Observatory to split up the light into its component colours so that the chemical composition and other properties of these stars could be studied in great detail. They found that HIP 102152 in the constellation of Capricornus (The Sea Goat) is the oldest solar twin known to date. …

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ScienceDaily: Top Science News

Oldest solar twin identified: New clues to help solve lithium mystery

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