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Theia 456 is a stretched-out stream of sibling stars

15 Jan 2021, 17:15 UTC
Theia 456 is a stretched-out stream of sibling stars
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Illustration depicting star streams in the Milky Way (not the Theia streams) via NASA/ Northwestern University.
Astronomers have identified many more or less spherical clumps of stars born together and still traveling together through space. We call them open star clusters; many are well known as beautiful places in the sky to see through binoculars or a small telescope. On January 15, 2021, at a virtual session during this week’s meeting of the American Astronomical Society, astronomers presented new research on a different sort of collection of sibling stars. Theia 456 isn’t an open cluster. It’s what’s called a stellar stream, a group of stars stretched out linearly, in this case over some 500 light-years. The astronomers studying Theia 456 combined multiple datasets including those captured by ESA’s Gaia satellite, which is carefully tracking the positions (and hence movements) of over a billion stars over a five-year period. They found that – despite its stretched-out shape – all of Theia 456’s 468 stars are indeed siblings, born at the same time and traveling in the same direction across the sky.
That means our understanding of how sibling stars can exist with one another, within the confines of our Milky ...

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