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Sun’s Birthplace

September 13, 2018

Where did our Sun get its start?

Transcript

The "Pillars of Creation" in the Eagle Nebula are made of gas and dust clouds and form new stars. (NASA, Jeff Hester, and Paul Scowen/Arizona State University)

The “Pillars of Creation” in the Eagle Nebula are made up of gas and dust clouds and form new stars. (NASA, Jeff Hester, and Paul Scowen/Arizona State University)

BOB HIRSHON (host):

The Sun’s nursery. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Science Update listener Larry West from Bonita, California emailed to ask where the Sun was born. Carnegie astrophysicist Alan Boss says we know it was in an enormous dust cloud four and a half billion years ago and that we and our sibling stars orbit the Milky Way every 200 million years. But we can’t simply wind back the clock and locate our stellar neighborhood.

ALAN BOSS (Carnegie Institution):

Unfortunately, when you have stars and their planetary systems orbiting around the galaxy, they interact with each other, kick each other out of the way, it’s sort of like driving around the Washington Beltway.

HIRSHON:

But he says as astronomers discover more nearby stars the same age and composition as our sun—possibly solar siblings — new clues may emerge about our astral origins. If you have a science question, give us a call at 1-800-WHY-ISIT, or email us from our website, Science Update dot com. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon