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The sun may have a long-lost twin



The most remote region of ours solar system, a sphere of dark, icy debris beyond Neptune, is overcrowded. All these things there, beyond the reach of the ancient disk of gas and dust that formed the planets, do not coincide with the scientific models for the formation of the solar system. Now a couple of researchers have proposed a new look at this distant mystery: Our sun has a long-lost twin. Both stars spent their childhoods collecting passing debris from interstellar space, crowding the outer parts of the solar system.

We can’t see this twin. Wherever – if it ever existed – it has detached from its orbit with our sun eons ago. Since then, the two stars would have orbited the Milky Way much more than a dozen times and may have landed in completely different regions of space. But the record of the influence of this lost twin on our solar system may remain in the Oort cloud, a mysterious neighborhood of comets and cosmic rocks within the outer limits of our solar influence.


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