Astronomers looking for the Sun's lost siblings have mapped the "chemical DNA" of 350,000 stars.
They are looking for the chemical signatures of stars that are delivered together into the universe and then separated after birth.
The sun was formed with many thousands of other stars in a "cluster" that was quickly pulled apart by gravity and spread over our galaxy, the Milky Way.
Every star in the birth chart of the sun will have the same chemical composition. 1
So far, 350 stars have been described. Ultimately, astronomers hope to map the chemical signatures of a million stars.
Senior Researcher Professor Martin Asplund of the Australian National University (ANU) said: "This survey allows us to trace the origin of stars and show the universe. We only have hydrogen and helium – right after the Big Bang – with all filled with the elements that we have here on Earth that are necessary for our lives.
"Measuring any number of chemical elements to obtain the stellar DNA for so many stars is a huge challenge.
Astronomers captured the light of the stars using the 3.9 meter long Anglo-Australian Telescope at the ANI Siding Spring Observatory in New South Wales, Australia.
Split the light into its wavelengths or spectra,
"Each chemical element leaves behind a unique pattern of dark bands of specific wavelengths, such as fingerprints, in these spectra," says D Daniel Zucker, another member of the Macquarie University team in New South Wales.
The research was submitted for publication in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and Astronomy & Astrophysics