Ancient white dwarf stars

Nov 03, 2011
Credit: NASA and H. Richer (University of British Columbia)

(PhysOrg.com) -- Pushing the limits of its powerful vision, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope uncovered the oldest burned-out stars in our Milky Way Galaxy in this image from 2002. These extremely old, dim "clockwork stars" provide a completely independent reading on the age of the universe without relying on measurements of the expansion of the universe.

The ancient white dwarf stars, as seen by Hubble, turn out to be 12 to 13 billion years old. Because earlier Hubble observations show that the first stars formed less than 1 billion years after the universe's birth in the big bang, finding the oldest stars puts astronomers well within arm's reach of calculating the absolute .

Though previous Hubble research sets the age of the universe at 13 to 14 billion years based on the rate of expansion of space, the universe's birthday is such a fundamental and profound value that astronomers have long sought other age-dating techniques to cross-check their conclusions.

The new age-dating observations were done using Hubble to hunt for elusive ancient stars hidden inside a globular star cluster located 5,600 light-years away in the constellation Scorpius.

Explore further: The discovery of the molecule Si-C-Si in space

Related Stories

Hubble finds infant stars in neighbouring galaxy

Jan 13, 2005

Hubble astronomers have uncovered, for the first time, a population of infant stars in the Milky Way satellite galaxy, the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC, visible to the naked eye in the southern constellation Tucana), located 210,000 light-years away. ...

Astronomers peer back to 'dawn of galaxies'

Oct 01, 2004

Detailed analysis of Hubble Space Telescope images has allowed astronomers to determine a major event in the evolution of the universe. The astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope’s Ultra Deep Field (UDF) to peer 95 percent of the ...

Milky Way is 13.000 Million Years Old

Aug 18, 2004

Observations by an international team of astronomers with the UVES spectrometer on ESO's Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory (Chile) have thrown new light on the earliest epoch of the Milky Way gal ...

Recommended for you

The discovery of the molecule Si-C-Si in space

22 hours ago

The space between stars is not empty—it contains a vast reservoir of diffuse material with about 5-10% of the total mass of our Milky Way galaxy. Most of the material is gas, but about 1% of this mass (quite ...

Hubble view of a nitrogen-rich nebula

23 hours ago

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows a planetary nebula named NGC 6153, located about 4,000 light-years away in the southern constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion).

Is the universe ringing like a crystal glass?

Jun 26, 2015

Many know the phrase "the big bang theory." There's even a top television comedy series with that as its title. According to scientists, the universe began with the "big bang" and expanded to the size it ...

Improved sensors help navigate gravity waves

Jun 26, 2015

Efforts to detect gravitational waves—which were first predicted by Albert Einstein nearly 100 years ago—are advancing with international researchers including UWA researchers boosting the sensitivity ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

kevinrtrs
1 / 5 (5) Nov 03, 2011
Now all we need will be to find white dwarf stars out at a distance of 12 billion light years.....
Eoprime
5 / 5 (3) Nov 03, 2011
Now all we need will be to find white dwarf stars out at a distance of 12 billion light years.....


A 11b Supernova wouldn't be enough for you, right?
http://www.univer...ernovae/

Just out of curiosity:
What of your nonsense would be proofed with a 12b old white dwarf? Beside the fact you have no clue what you are taking about.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.