Since time immemorial, we’ve wondered, “Is the Sun just a typical star?”
In the 1600s, Christiaan Huygens estimated the distance to Sirius, assuming it was a distant, Sun-like star.
His result, 0.4 light-years, didn’t account for intrinsic stellar differences.
Stars come with a variety of properties: mass, color, temperature, ionization, metallicity, age, etc.
Although the Sun isn’t a unique cosmic outlier, it isn’t exactly typical, either.
With around two sextillion (~2 × 1021) stars within the observable Universe, how do we compare?
Most stars that exist today formed long ago: ~11 billion years in the past.
Our Sun, born 4.6 billion years ago, is younger than 85% of all stars.
The majority of stars are red dwarfs: cool, low in mass, and extremely long lived.
Our Sun, a G-class star, is more massive than 95% of stars.
Most stars are lower than ours in metallicity: the fraction of heavy elements present.
Our Sun has greater enrichment than ~93% of all stars.
Only half of all stars are “singlets” like our Sun; the other half exist within multi-star systems.
We’re not typically luminous, either.
The overall luminosity-to-mass ratio of stars is three times our own.
Normal, apparently, encompasses an enormous range.
Mostly Mute Monday tells an astronomical story in images, visuals, and no more than 200 words. Talk less; smile more.