Almost twice as ancient, star gives glimpse of sun's future
When the sun enters its twilight years, chances are it will look just like HIP 102152.
In terms of mass, temperature and chemical composition, the star HIP 102152 is the closest match to the sun ever found, astronomers announced August 28 at a press conference. But it’s also almost 4 billion years older, providing a tantalizing glimpse of what might happen to our 4.6-billion-year-old sun as it ages.
“Work with solar twins is helping us contextualize the sun as a star,” says Gustavo Porto de Mello, an astronomer at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro who was not involved in the research. “This is another step toward finding stars that represent the sun at various stages of evolution.”
HIP 102152 has given the researchers insight on lithium, an element that exists in high amounts in some stars but is virtually absent in the sun. Some astronomers have wondered whether that makes the sun an outlier, Porto de Mello says. But the