Astronomers have spotted a star that is the Sun’s near-identical twin.
The new sun – labelled HD98618 – lies only 126 light-years away in the star pattern called the Plough.
Scientists believe it could be circled by its own family of planets including a twin of the Earth.
The star, which can be seen in binoculars, was identified by astronomers from the Australian National Observatory.
They say it is virtually identical to the Sun in age, size, temperature and chemistry.
Researcher José Robles said: “This solar twin doesn’t only have the same mass as the Sun, it was also formed with the same ‘chemical recipe’.
“So this star was equipped in the same way as the Sun to form Earth-like planets.
“Hopefully, as new planet finding techniques are developed and refined, astronomers will find whether HD98618 hosts terrestrial planets, which may even contain life.”
The astronomers believe that HD98618 is about four billion years-old, which is slightly younger than our own Sun.
Scientists know of just one star that more closely resembles the Sun, 18
Scorpii, which was discovered in 1997.
They made their discovery using the largest telescope in the world on the summit of Hawaii’s dormant Mauna Kea volcano.
The scientists will publish a report on their discovery in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.
© Paul Sutherland. Unauthorised reproduction forbidden.
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