Astronomers in Brazil used the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Very Large Telescope to find the oldest known star that is similar to our sun.
HIP 102152 is located 250 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Capricornus and is believed to be 8.2 billion years old. Since our sun is only 4.6 billion years old, HIP 102152 gives us a preview of what our sun will look like in 4 billion years.
For one thing, HIP 102152 has very low levels of lithium. Lithium is the third element in the periodic table that was created in the Big Bang, along with hydrogen and helium. Right now our sun has just 1% of the lithium content that was available in the gas cloud that formed it. As time goes on, researchers can now be certain that stars destroy their lithium as they age, according to an ESO statement.
“For decades, astronomers have been searching for solar twins in order to know our own life-giving Sun better,” lead researcher Jorge Melendez said in a statement.”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.”
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