Our Sun May Have Once Had a Twin Star!

Brian G Turner

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I swear Harvard have simply been trolling space science the past couple of years. The last big one being when they claimed that 'Oumaumau might have been part of a space ship!

In this instance, it's all about the Oort Cloud - a theoretical shell of ice and rock at the very edge of the solar system. We haven't observed it, or even begun to calculate anything reliable about it.

But now Harvard are suggesting that the only way that a particular view of the Oort Cloud can be satisfied is if the Sun formed as a binary pair. Yet they fail to explain how a twin star can be pulled away by the nearby gravity of other forming stars, without taking most of the Oort Cloud with it!
 

Ori Vandewalle

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I swear Harvard have simply been trolling space science the past couple of years. The last big one being when they claimed that 'Oumaumau might have been part of a space ship!

It's not trolling so much as the MO of Avi Loeb, an astrophysicist at Harvard. He has his grad students write papers on speculative ideas that are nevertheless grounded in fairly solid physics, then gets those papers published with his second author imprimatur. I think he just wants to encourage a kind of playful, thought experimenty mode of science/paper writing. Problem is those speculative ideas make for good headlines, and he definitely seems to enjoy the spotlight...

But now Harvard are suggesting that the only way that a particular view of the Oort Cloud can be satisfied is if the Sun formed as a binary pair. Yet they fail to explain how a twin star can be pulled away by the nearby gravity of other forming stars, without taking most of the Oort Cloud with it!

Not so! The paper estimates that 99% of outer Oort Cloud objects are lost in the encounter that dislodges the companion star.
 

Serendipity

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Whilst the Oort Cloud has not yet been directly observed, its existence has been proposed as the home of the long period comets that visit the inner Solar System. See Oort Cloud .

The paper and the article was written as a hypothesis, which then went on to give indications of what to look for in future observations that might help confirm that the Sun once had a twin.This includes the distribution of Trans Neptunian Objects (TNOs) closer to home.
 

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