Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Is it possible to find our Sun's siblings?

  1. Mar 28, 2012 #1
    As I understand it, our Sun formed as part of a cluster of stars, whose members have probably long since drifted apart. Is it possible we might be able to ever identify where those stars are now? Would they all be similar to the sun, having formed from the same cluster?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 28, 2012 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    Hi saro,
    welcome to PF

    Have you got any reviewed references to that?
    It wasn't something I was aware of and would be interested in reading up on
    If there are credible sources of info. :)

  4. Mar 28, 2012 #3
    Thank you.
    Well, I have read many sources over the years that suggest our Sun was originally a member of a star cluster, but now I don't remember where I read these things. Information about Tau Ceti on Wikipedia suggests that our sun had a close encounter with another star early in it's lifetime that cleared it of much of it's debris, making life on earth possible.
    Also what led me to the question was this post here: https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=486208
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  5. Mar 28, 2012 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    It would be exceedingly difficult to backtrack 4 billion years of stellar motion to determine where our Sun came from. Also, star clusters produce a varied amount of stars, from small brown and red dwarfs to huge supergiants. While I'm sure that the composition and size of the gas clouds that collapse to form the star clusters have some bearing on the types of stars formed, I don't think that they would form only stars of one type.
  6. Mar 28, 2012 #5
    Thanks. I guess I was imagining that our sun formed from a giant molecular cloud that broke into many similar peices forming hundreds of stars just like our sun, now interspersed throughout the galaxy. I'd like to know who "Sol's" siblings are, where it originated and what happened to all those other stars. Perhaps if we could figure this out we might find other solar systems like ours, possibly with earth like planets.
  7. Mar 28, 2012 #6


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    There are plenty of stars similar in mass and composition to the Sun. We don't need to find the ones that formed with the Sun in order to find similar star systems to ours. Actually, Earth-like planets might form around a great many different types of stars, not just Sun-like ones.
  8. Mar 28, 2012 #7
    Thank you! I strongly disagree though. I believe the metallicity of the cloud that formed our sun had a great influence on the formation of solar systems with earth like planets. I see it as a very delicate balance, and only solar systems with a metallicity nearly exactly that of our sun could possibly harbour earth like planets.
    However that is just my intuition.
  9. Mar 28, 2012 #8


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Believe what you want. Personally I expect to see a great many types of planets, including Earth-like ones, around many stars. The next few years should prove VERY enlightening!
  10. Mar 28, 2012 #9
    I very much like this discussion, even though we disagree. I expect the only earth like planets will be found from molecular clouds nearly exactly like the one that formed our sun or the very one that formed it. Indeed, the next few years will be quite enlightening. Cheers.
  11. Apr 5, 2012 #10
    The March/April Issue of Science Illustrated has a cover story on this subject.
  12. Apr 16, 2012 #11
  13. Apr 17, 2012 #12


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Open clusters are relatively short lived. A few trips around the galaxy tends to widely disperse them.
  14. Apr 18, 2012 #13
    Hope so, as the sample of exoplanets goes larger, more details about planets can be revealed. If your idea is reasonable, there may be more similarities between stars having planets possible of forming life.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook