For more than 100 years, scientists have been observing a curious star positioned some 190 gentle years away from Earth within the constellation Libra. It quickly journeys throughout the sky at 800,000 mph (1.3 million kilometers per hour). However extra fascinating than that, HD 140283 — or Methuselah because it’s generally recognized — can be one of many universe’s oldest recognized stars.
In 2000, scientists sought thus far the star utilizing observations through the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Hipparcos satellite, which estimated the age of 16 billion years outdated. Such a determination was reasonably thoughts-blowing and likewise fairly baffling. As astronomer Howard Bond of Pennsylvania State University identified, the age of the universe — decided from measurements of the cosmic microwave training — is 13.8 billion years old. “It was a critical discrepancy,” he mentioned.
It was definitely clear that Methuselah — named in reference to a biblical patriarch who is alleged to have died aged 969, making him the longest-lived of all of the figures within the Bible — was old because the metallic-poor subgiant is predominantly fabricated from hydrogen and helium and incorporates little or no iron. It is composition meant the star should have come into being earlier than iron turned commonplace.
Bond and his associates set themselves to the duty of determining whether or not or not that preliminary determine of 16 billion was correct. They pored over 11 units of measurements that had been recorded between 2003 to 2011 by the Fine Guidance Sensors of the Hubble Space Telescope, which make an observation of the positions, distances, and vitality output of stars. In buying parallax, spectroscopy, and photometry measurements, a greater sense of age might be decided.