Penn State Astronomers Date Star Older Than The Universe

Yes, you read the headline correctly. And your reaction is probably similar to mine.

Infinity times infinity

A group of Penn State astronomers have used the Hubble telescope to discover that a star, HD 140283, appears to be as old as 14.5 billion years. This discovery is leading many astronomers to scratch their heads in confusion because the age of the universe is estimated to be around 13.8 billion years.

“We have found that this is the oldest known star with a well-determined age,” said lead author of the study, Howard Bond. The star has been nicknamed “Methuselah,” after the Biblical figure who was known as the oldest man to ever live.

The star was dated using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope earlier this year.

Although the margin of error is 800 million years, it would mean that the star formed only just after the Big Bang which would still make it one of the oldest stars in the known universe.

“Put all of those ingredients together and you get an age of 14.5 billion years, with a residual uncertainty that makes the star’s age compatible with the age of the universe,” said Bond. “This is the best star in the sky to do precision age calculations by virtue of its closeness and brightness.”

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Leo Dillinger

Penn State Junior, Print Journalism Major, Minors in English and Sociology, Writer of Arts, Entertainment, News, Tomfoolery and Opinion.


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