3
$\begingroup$

This is just a matter of curiosity; I was thinking about a scifi story.

By "Isolated", I mean that if for every star (or binary) we found the distance to its closest neighboring star, then which one would be the furthest from its closest neighbor?

$\endgroup$
17
  • $\begingroup$ That assumes that we know the location of every star in the Milky Way -- all 250 (+/- 150) billion of them. Since we can't see most of them, I'd say that your question is impossible to answer. $\endgroup$ – Mick Sep 10 '18 at 14:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Mick Okay. How about the most isolated amongst KNOWN stars? $\endgroup$ – Amadeus Sep 10 '18 at 14:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Even amongst known stars in our galactic neighborhood, it would be hard to tell, because a known star could have a neighbor that we don't know about because it is fainter. Also, different regions of our galaxy have different densities of stars. For example, if you go away from the galactic plane, the density decreases, same for the arms, and away from the outer arms, eventually you reach the intergalactic region that has very few stars. $\endgroup$ – FSimardGIS Sep 10 '18 at 16:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @barrycarter Go for it and post an answer. I'd be interested to know what you find out. $\endgroup$ – Alphecca Sep 11 '18 at 18:27
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ In our galaxy, it might be CX330, which is 1000 light years from any star-forming region, much less any star. However, the article describes it as "Loneliest Young Star", so there may be older stars that are even more isolated. [This source] (smh.com.au/technology/…) contains the phrase "CX330 [...] has been described as the galaxy's loneliest star.", but this may just be bad reporting. $\endgroup$ – user21 Sep 12 '18 at 18:32
1
$\begingroup$

From a comment by barrycarter:

In our galaxy, it might be CX330, which is 1000 light years from any star-forming region, much less any star. However, the article describes it as "Loneliest Young Star", so there may be older stars that are even more isolated. This source contains the phrase "CX330 [...] has been described as the galaxy's loneliest star.", but this may just be bad reporting.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

I don't think anyone knows the answer to this! People have only recently started looking at the Gaia catalogues and they contain so much data that most of it won't get looked at unless it is in an interesting area. Astronomers have started combing through the data seeing what we can find in our favourite regions but most people focus on the more densely populated areas (clusters and places where stars are forming) rather than the mainly empty areas (probably older stars not interacting with each other).

So I think this is something you could find in the catalogue, the information does exist, but no one is particularly interested in spending a lot of time looking for it because we won't learn much from those regions.

$\endgroup$
1
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ One would not "look" for it, but rather write a program to sift through the data to find the star furthest away. That is in itself a fun programming problem since the catalogue is so large that it is hard to keep it all in memory at the same time for a normal PC: some cleverness is needed to handle the search problem. $\endgroup$ – Anders Sandberg Sep 16 '18 at 8:10

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.