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Home / Science / Our sun has "DNA" and galactic archaeologists are looking for their family

Our sun has "DNA" and galactic archaeologists are looking for their family



Published

April 18th, 2018 10:03:48

An Australian team of galactic archaeologists is searching for stars that were born at the same time and place as the sun, and has mapped the chemical composition of nearly 350,000 stars with the ultimate goal (19659006 ) Stars formed together in clusters have the same chemical composition – which the scientists compare to DNA – but a family reunion is unlikely, as the stars usually diverge after formation in light years. [19659006] The team studied the sky with a spectrograph and analyzed which elements consist of stars.

The project, which was named the GALAH study when it was created in 2013, today released its first important dataset.

"This is a tremendous number of stars for which we can gather information," said GALAH Project Scientist and UNSW Lecturer Sarah Martell.

"This really helps us to understand the history of things there … but even if you are looking for unusual things, the only way to find them is to look at a lot of things.

" The question is, where are the stars that formed around the sun? It should have formed with a bunch of other stars, it should have siblings – and where are they? "

The study uses the HERMES spectrograph at the Siding Spring Observatory of the Australian National University, which allowed researchers to analyze starlight across the spectrum to determine the chemical composition of stars to determine.

Martin Asplund of the ANU, who conducts the analysis of the survey, said that chemical labeling of stars is the key to finding the long-lost siblings of the sun.

"[HERMES] spreads the starlight into different wavelengths, different frequencies, and then we can identify the chemical fingerprint of each star," he said.

"The idea is that stars born together should have the same chemical composition, which is why we call them siblings – they share the same DNA."

Analysis of the data is ongoing, so still no sibling stars have been found for our sun – but the data volume of 342,000 stars will help scientists deduce the history of the Milky Way

With many stars we can get a clear picture of the historical evolution of the galaxy: when did stars form, like have they created new elements, how does this create a new generation of stars? "Dr. Martell said:

Galactic archaeologists look back on timely answers

Galactic archeology examines the Milky Way for clues to its history, but Professor Asplund said it presents some unique challenges.

" The problem is we have, the stars are moving around, so not like archaeologists, they are looking for relics in the ground, "he said.

"In the problem we have, we are looking for stars born at a particular time, but they are being moved in the galaxy in the billions of years since their creation. "

Analyzing such a large and complex dataset has also presented researchers with new challenges that have had to deal with novel ways of handling the data and write new computer programs to keep up with the huge amounts of information." 19659006] "One of the biggest challenges in moving to large data sets for astronomy is figuring out how to handle everything," says Dr. Martell.

"If you have 342,682 stars, you do not need a computer program think too hard. "

The GALAH study will continue to analyze the data collected so far, but researchers want to collect more than 1 million stars.

The team hopes to resume its data collection in August, Professor Asplund said the siblings of the sun could be found within a few years.

Topics:

Science and technology,

Astronomy space

Australian National University-0200,

University of New South Wales 2052,

Canberra 2600,

Action,

Australia


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