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Oldest Known Star In the Universe Discovered

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the thanks-geritol dept.

Space 141

Zothecula writes "A team of astronomers at The Australian National University working on a five-year project to produce the first comprehensive digital survey of the southern sky has discovered the oldest known star in the Universe. The star dates back 13.7 billion years, only shortly after the Big Bang itself. It's also nearby (at least, from a cosmological perspective) — about 6,000 light-years away. The star is notable for the very small amount of iron it contains (abstract). The lead researcher, Stefan Keller, said, 'To make a star like our Sun, you take the basic ingredients of hydrogen and helium from the Big Bang and add an enormous amount of iron – the equivalent of about 1,000 times the Earth's mass. To make this ancient star, you need no more than an Australia-sized asteroid of iron and lots of carbon. It's a very different recipe that tells us a lot about the nature of the first stars and how they died.'"

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old skuul (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46224173)

yo, dis nigga hella old.

Re:old skuul (0, Flamebait)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 10 months ago | (#46224223)

Cheese and rice, fella, I'd rather read a frostie piss or a betabitch post that your excrement.

Re:old skuul (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46224287)

i am happy that it bothers you

Re:old skuul (1)

Revek (133289) | about 10 months ago | (#46225133)

We know.

Which star? (4, Funny)

reboot246 (623534) | about 10 months ago | (#46224197)

I thought William Shatner was the oldest star.

Re:Which star? (4, Interesting)

Obijon70 (2755699) | about 10 months ago | (#46224325)

Nah, Shirley Temple just passed away today.

... discovered by Snowden! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46224387)

goatse

Re:Which star? (4, Insightful)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 10 months ago | (#46224477)

Not even close. The Shat isn't even 90 yet.

Betty White and Christopher Lee are still going strong...

Cannot be (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46224225)

Given the universe is 4500 years old this is a lie.

From Columbia
Go Cocks!

FSM (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46224427)

You forget, the Flying Spaghetti Monster reaches out his noodly appendage and changes the researchers maths.
You know, so us edumerkated folk don't get confused.

Re:Cannot be (1)

drkim (1559875) | about 10 months ago | (#46225319)

Given the universe is 4500 years old this is a lie.

Actually, the creationists think the universe is 6000 years old, and this star is only 6000 LY away; so it doesn't prove anything one way or the other!!

Re:Cannot be (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46225741)

Actually, the creationists think the universe is 6000 years old,

That is demonstrably false [wikipedia.org] .

If you post a retraction, then you will regain some credibility. If you don't, I can't see how you are any better. Fuck Beta.

Re:Cannot be (1)

thospel (99467) | about 10 months ago | (#46227035)

Even better, if the universe is 6000 years old and this star is 6000 light years away, it must be from the beginning of the universe, which is exactly what these researchers discovered. Scientific proof of the bible!

This is boring. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46224257)

I want to hear what happened to Justin Bieber!

Oldest star to date, but likely came from another (5, Interesting)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 10 months ago | (#46224263)

According to TFA this star itself was likely born from the death of a genuinely primordial star (which would have started with almost nothing by hydrogen and helium). One of the upshots of this work is that some primordial stars may have produced much less iron than some models have suggested which could explain some discrepancies in the observed isotopic ratios in some old stars. According to the actual article (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature12990.html [nature.com] which may be behind a paywall) this star has an apparent visual magnitude of 14.7. This puts this star just in the limits of amateur observations. Charon has an apparent magnitude of around 15.5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charon_(moon) [wikipedia.org] and that's been successfully imaged by amateurs (larger apparent magnitude means dimmer because astronomers are silly) http://www.universetoday.com/20351/charon-imaged-by-amateur-astronomers/ [universetoday.com] , so this star could be looked at by a dedicated amateur in the southern hemisphere.

Re:Oldest star to date, but likely came from anoth (2, Informative)

infogulch (1838658) | about 10 months ago | (#46224855)

Larger apparent magnitude means dimmer because magnitude is on a log scale, similar to pH is a log scale with a negative sign. Brightness = 2.512^(-Magnitude)

Re:Oldest star to date, but likely came from anoth (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 10 months ago | (#46224903)

Yes, I know that. But it is confusing to have the negative sign there. It would work just as well without it. In contrast pH which is concentration so if you want a positive number you need a negative sign. There's no really natural reason to have a negative sign for magnitude. It works fine but frequently confuses non-astronomy people. Really these are just arbitrary conventions and I was going for a funny aside. This is definitely not the only example of a system of measurement we use which is convenient largely for historical reasons.

Re:Oldest star to date, but likely came from anoth (1)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about 10 months ago | (#46226381)

Isn't p negative log and therefore a different situation? At least in chem it's used a LOT, and not just with proton concentration.

It doesnt appear the brightness magnitude has any such identifier (though im sure your correct) and therefore at least a bit more confusing.

Could the sun be mostly iron? (0)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about 10 months ago | (#46225245)

http://www.thesunisiron.com/ [thesunisiron.com]

After all, when you look at the Earth from space, you see mostly nitrogen, oxygen, and water vapor. It's always a problem to infer the interior of something from what you see on the outside (as in, you can't judge a book by its cover). The proposed LENR (Cold Fusion) physics, perhaps along with some notion of quantum decay of nuclei leading to outgassed hydrogen (my suggestion), could provide a way that a sun (or planet, including the Earth) made of mostly nickel and iron could produce a lot of internal heat from LENR.

BTW, scientists at MIT a quarter century later are now saying they have evidence of cold fusion:
http://cold-fusion.ca/cold-fus... [cold-fusion.ca]

What other surprises lay in store for physics? Could it be "hot fusion" that does not exist most places we expect it, considering all the billions of dollars spent over decades that have failed to replicate it? :-)

Re:Could the sun be mostly iron? (4, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 10 months ago | (#46225355)

After all, when you look at the Earth from space, you see mostly nitrogen, oxygen, and water vapor. It's always a problem to infer the interior of something from what you see on the outside (as in, you can't judge a book by its cover). The proposed LENR (Cold Fusion) physics, perhaps along with some notion of quantum decay of nuclei leading to outgassed hydrogen (my suggestion), could provide a way that a sun (or planet, including the Earth) made of mostly nickel and iron could produce a lot of internal heat from LENR.

No. The solar neutrino flux is almost precisely that which is proposed by models and this does let us check our models. We can also estimate the sun's density if it had an iron core. It would be much denser and it wouldn't have an easy way to prevent collapse. There's also no plausible model for anything remotely like this to form naturally. Those are just a few of the many problems with this suggestion. Thinking about ideas is good but please be aware that it is extremely unlikely that a single individual thinking on their own is going to come up with a serious problem in theories that withstood many empirical tests over the last 50 years, and even less likely to then come up with the correct hypothesis. Claiming that the sun is mostly iron isn't the same level as claiming that evolution hasn't happened, but it isn't that far off. At minimum, a glance at your website shows no predictions that would differ from standard. At minimum to be taking seriously you need to propose some test that can be done that will strongly differentiate your model from the standard explanation. Without that, there's little reason to pay attention.

Re:Could the sun be mostly iron? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46226923)

it is extremely unlikely that a single individual thinking on their own is going to come up with a serious problem in theories that withstood many empirical tests over the last 50 years

Its highly unlikely that you are the lucky bastard to come up with something entirely new, but at the same time all new discoveries start with someones bright idea. And as is inherent to anything new, it must be different from what was considered correct before.

So never stomp out an new idea just because it conflicts with what is known before, but also, never consider an idea good just because its yours.

Thx4 for the kooks links! (1)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 10 months ago | (#46225895)

> Could the sun be mostly iron?

No, the sun is made of charcoal. This was clearly proved in the 1800s.

lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46226775)

"Could the sun be mostly iron?"

lol, no

"It's always a problem to infer the interior of something from what you see on the outside (as in, you can't judge a book by its cover)"

lol, no

"The proposed LENR (Cold Fusion) physics"

lol

"perhaps along with some notion of quantum decay of nuclei leading to outgassed hydrogen (my suggestion)"

lol

"could provide a way that a sun (or planet, including the Earth) made of mostly nickel and iron could produce a lot of internal heat from LENR."

lol, no

"BTW, scientists at MIT a quarter century later are now saying they have evidence of cold fusion:"

lol

"Could it be "hot fusion" that does not exist most places we expect it, considering all the billions of dollars spent over decades that have failed to replicate it?"

lol

Re:Oldest star to date, but likely came from anoth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46226909)

Why would a very old star have very little iron in it?As light elements burn up you should be getting more and more heavier ones and the really heavy ones should fission back to iron that has the lowest fusion/fission potential. Because fusion/fission process converges to iron, a star that has been going on for a long time should have lots of it.

Or maybe the logic is that for a star to live very long it has to burn really slow and produces very little iron on its own? And as older universe has more iron in it younger stars should also have more of it when they ignite? So when you find a star that has very little iron in it it must have formed when universe has very little iron in it - ergo a long time ago in a far away galaxy?

Re:Oldest star to date, but likely came from anoth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46227355)

Or maybe the logic is that for a star to live very long it has to burn really slow and produces very little iron on its own? And as older universe has more iron in it younger stars should also have more of it when they ignite? So when you find a star that has very little iron in it it must have formed when universe has very little iron in it - ergo a long time ago in a far away galaxy?

Bingo! Main sequence stars burns H to He but not much else.

HA! (4, Funny)

mythosaz (572040) | about 10 months ago | (#46224305)

The star is notable for the very small amount of iron it contains (abstract). The lead researcher, Stefan Keller, said..

ISWYDT

Re:HA! (2)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 10 months ago | (#46224315)

UC2 much.

Re:HA! (2)

Nivag064 (904744) | about 10 months ago | (#46225739)

I must steel myself not to make such bad puns, and rely on my iron constitution to have the stamina to resist.

And now for something completely different, my Dad was a copper for a few weeks!

Re:HA! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 10 months ago | (#46226013)

Only a 2? Where are the moderators?

Lorien? (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | about 10 months ago | (#46224307)

There is a planet circling it. It's name is Z'ha'dum. Where the First One lives.

Re:Lorien? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46224333)

It is name is Z'ha'dum or it has name is Z'ha'dum?

Re:Lorien? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46224527)

Seriously? Look at you, a real smart guy.

What he's saying is that cousin It's name is Z'ha'dum.

Re:Lorien? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46224743)

I think you mean cousin Itt.

Re:Lorien? (1)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about 10 months ago | (#46224943)

What do you want?

Re:Lorien? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46225147)

Who are you?

Re:Lorien? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46225643)

Where are you going?

Re:Lorien? (1)

Artifakt (700173) | about 10 months ago | (#46225669)

Where are you going?:
No Wait... nobody will get this part... Nevermind! Forget I said anything, before this thread turns into some sort of crusade.

Re:Lorien? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 10 months ago | (#46226367)

Never ask that question!

Knowledge (1)

Obijon70 (2755699) | about 10 months ago | (#46224319)

The more i read stories like this, more i realize there is so much more I would like to know. Too many books not enough time lol...

Re:Knowledge (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46224329)

There is only ONE book you need. The Holy Bible. King James translation.

Re:Knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46224449)

Yes, if you want to take the lazy and ignorant way out.

Re:Knowledge (4, Interesting)

RubberDogBone (851604) | about 10 months ago | (#46224469)

There is only ONE book you need. The Holy Bible. King James translation.

A translation, by definition, is not the same as the original, Words get changed, meanings change, stuff gets made up when the translator gets fed up and wants to go to lunch early.

King James' translators were no better than any of them. Your faith isn't so much in God as you may think it is. Your faith is actually in those translators, that they did a correct and accurate job. Because you have no idea what the original works actually said, do you? Somebody has told you what it says. Perhaps many somebodies.

When average people talk you about... weather, politics, the best dog food to buy, or whether Pizza Hut, Papa Johns, or Dominos has the best pizza, do you take what they say at face value and believe it? No, probably not. You know how people are full of crap, make stuff up, or are simply delusional. Being wacko is almost normal.

But you trust your faith, the most important thing there is for many people, in the words translated by people hundreds of years ago. Whom you cannot talk to about pizza or anything else. You have no idea whether they were the best scholars ever, or merely humans who thought the same wacko things you find everywhere. I bet the latter because people are people, and most of them are wacko.

Stuff like that scares the crap out of me. I know how much people make stuff up. Some more than others. There is no way I can base something like faith on a book like that. If you can, good for you.

Well, of course you can and you will believe it. Because the alternative, that even a small part of what you believe might be wrong, is impossible to accept. It could not possibly be wrong, so it will never be wrong. You are safe.

Re:Knowledge (0)

mythosaz (572040) | about 10 months ago | (#46224503)

Yeah, but the will of God totally flowed through the dozens of bible book authors and editors hands, until the perfection that is the KJB came to be.

Re:Knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46224609)

And the NIV was translated by people who had the spirit of Tequila flowing through their hands.

Re:Knowledge (1)

msauve (701917) | about 10 months ago | (#46224789)

...because the canon, developed around the time of the Council of Nicaea, is every bit as perfect and infallible as Pope John XII.

Re:Knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46224643)

I studied Biblical Hebrew for four years at university. So yes, I do have an idea what the original works actually say. Guess what? The King James translation isn't perfect, but it's quite good (mostly because they were smart enough to use Tyndall's work as the basis for their work and he was a bang up translator and word-smith). So, do a bit more research before letting stuff like that scare the crap out of you. Seriously, do you really think that the KJV could deviate so much from the original that no scholars would have made a fuss in the last 500 years?

Re:Knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46225461)

There was a least one scholar that did make a fuss about it by making his own translation. Guess what happened to him? The King had him executed.

Re:Knowledge (4, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 10 months ago | (#46225553)

The important thing is that the English language has changed since the KJV was finished, so that there are things that don't mean the same thing now as they did back then. As an example, back then, "kill" meant "murder." (Note that David slew Goliath, not killed him.) If you don't take this into account, and many Bible literalists don't, not only won't you know what it's saying, you won't even realize that there's an issue.

Re:Knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46227569)

The latest translations (to various languages) go to the original languages and sources with the current understanding of them. Understanding has likely been improved even in the field of linguistics during the last few centuries. My native language didn't even contain the words necessary for translation during Tyndale's time, and those words have been significantly altered and grammar created and regularized since.
    It is true that the target language and the translation shapes the interpretation of every language dependent religion, which most current forms of Abrahamic religions definitely are. This can be observed simply by talking to locals over sufficiently different cultures. The Catholic Church likely feared this aspect of the Protestantism, for a good reason.

Re:Knowledge (4, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 10 months ago | (#46224769)

The King James bible was translated at a king's (god's appointed representative) order, by translators who were divinely inspired. Or so they said. Believing in it is no more irrational than believing in the actual original accounts, verbal or written, or the Hebrew copies, or the Greek copies, or the Book of Mormon, or Hubbard's science fiction. Okay, maybe slightly less irrational than believing in that last one, because Hubbard declared in advance he was full of shit rather than claiming to have a direct pipeline to a supreme being. Or maybe not.

Re:Knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46225725)

The fact you didn't consider that the post might have been sarcastic scares the crap out of me.

Re:Knowledge (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about 10 months ago | (#46226677)

Your faith isn't so much in God as you may think it is. Your faith is actually in those translators, that they did a correct and accurate job.

This is an argument you cannot win. The response is simply "It's accurate because they were guided by the Holy Spirit." In fact, any seemingly clever argument against religion is easily refuted with "because God." Having omnipotence on your side makes arguing for it a piece o' cake. Here's a good recent example. [youtube.com] Several times Ham whips out the Because God argument in response to Nye's time consuming and pointless parade of logic and facts.

Translation of KJ is wrong. Example inside. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46225387)

it for example it use the word ÎÎá¦ÎÎÏ (doulos) and commonly translate it as bond servnat, but in reality were slave. It quite clearly change siome paragraph about horrible slavery of human being as being OK by bible time, to some benign "servant" job by our time. That alone should tell you a lot on not to trust *ANY* translation.

Re:Knowledge (1)

John Allsup (987) | about 10 months ago | (#46225833)

If there was ever a book on how to read the KJV _properly_, then you would absolutely need that too. Alas they didn't have those to hand when compiling, and nobody since has had the understanding sufficient to write one.

Exercise 1 with the KJV: Take a single sentence, and see if the words fit better and make more sense in any other order.
Exercise 2 with the KJV: Repeat with each adjacent sequence of a few sentences.
Exercise 3 with the KJV: If there is no better word order, then the one you see is minimal for some particular meaning, so what is the meaning?
Exercise 4 with the KJV: Explore the degree to which one can ultimately rely upon the authority of a human third party, such as a church?
Exercise 5 with the KJV: Just appreciate the wonder of what was accomplished by it, rather than any potential flaws.
Exercise 6 with the KJV: Explore the historical context and carefully explain what qualitative improvements could have been made.
Exercise 7 with the KJV: Justify carefully every single possible improvement. You may assume your own existence, but all other assumptions must be carefully stated, and ultimately factored out in your reasoning.

If you haven't got past 7, then you can't really claim to even understand the idea of 'biblical inerrancy' and why it matters. My experience is that it is based on the intuition of 'locally minimal errors in a large region of possibilities', or that if the KJV isn't already correct for the context and language for which it was composed, there is no realistic possibility of improvement. Anything that remotely satisfies such a 'minimal error' condition, like the best music or poetry, or the best mathematical proofs, are beautiful in their own right. If one then looks to the KJV, RSV, NIV and ESV and cross compares, to see examples of translator decisions, then they can start to abstract the common meaning and factor away translating issues so as to intuitively grasp the deeper meaning.

There is no way, practically or physically, that you can properly understand even a fraction of the words of the KJV without proper study, contemplation, anguish and just plain getting it wrong time and time again until you see that most beautiful of interpretations that just fits. My own experience is that that 'most beautiful' of interpretations looks like an amazing consequence of the foundational laws of maths and physics that the modern world has discovered in the years after the KJV was written, and that 'almost magical' compatibility is what leads me to believe that my current understanding is worth anything.

For those who wish to see how little I like to rely upon external sources of reasoning, and how clearly I like to think things through, my PhD thesis at john.allsup.co is an example, though I'm much more pedantic these days than I was then, both about logical rigour, foundational assumptions, and just plain making things look nice. I'm an absolute bastard of a perfectionist, at heart, and to me, if something looks wrong then there is at least one thing wrong somewhere, and in the long run that's always gonna be one thing too many.

I take this philosophy into how I code, so I don't code much, but what I do code I damn well make sure works properly, or that if it doesn't, I understand why it doesn't before making a single correction. Errors once overwritten are sources of teaching and learning that, once lost, are unlikely to recur. Nurture your errors like seeds in a garden, and cultivate the flowers and plants that grow from them, rather than trying to rush things and get to the good stuff first. Rushing only make s for poorer results, and in the eyes of an absolute bastard of a perfectionist, such results are no results at all, other than more errors to be learned from.

Re:Knowledge (1)

GrahamCox (741991) | about 10 months ago | (#46226053)

Even as an attempt at trolling it was lame. And if you were actually serious, well.... words fail me.

Re:Knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46226533)

And an English primer. The Holy Bible isn't going to read itself.

Re:Knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46227111)

The King James translation is an abomination! Only Bibles written in the original God's own language Latin are valid, and only when interpreted for the masses by a qualified priest.

Re:Knowledge (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 10 months ago | (#46226959)

The more i read stories like this, more i realize there is so much more I would like to know. Too many books not enough time lol...

They won't do you much good it appears. Often I watch "How the Universe Works" (first series) to put me to sleep;
while not a book, it's almost as good.

They drive home the point that as soon as a star starts producing iron it's toast, in that split second it goes nova.
The reasoning is it absorbs too much energy allowing gravity to overcome the push (outward force) of fusion.

But it's not just "How the Universe Works" it's any article on the Sun will tell you the same thing.

Finally figure you have a handle on something and some article like this comes along and changes the rules. So what do you believe? Honestly.
But The Bible isn't even in the running.

Lead researcher, Stefan Keller... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46224407)

If he is a lead researcher, what does he know about iron? I found in my old astronomy textbook a list of the elements that make-up the top 99.99997% of the mass of the sun. Lead is not in that list. Why have a lead expert involved instead of an iron researcher involved? The reason we're interested in this star is because of the low mass of iron, not lead.

Re:Lead researcher, Stefan Keller... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46224451)

No, they mean the lead that rhymes with read, not the one that rhymes with read.

Re:Lead researcher, Stefan Keller... (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 10 months ago | (#46224513)

He's invited to play lead bass on my new record.

Re:Lead researcher, Stefan Keller... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46224651)

A fish made out of lead would sink.

Re:Lead researcher, Stefan Keller... (2)

khallow (566160) | about 10 months ago | (#46224699)

No, it would rock.

A ha! I am at the center of the universe after all (-1, Offtopic)

johanwanderer (1078391) | about 10 months ago | (#46224435)

... yet I was still too far away to make this the F1rst Post.

Universal Knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46224535)

NObody alive on earth today knows how old the universe is. That is a fact, Jack. It is hilarious to read difinitively how some claim to know.

Re:Universal Knowledge (1)

dfsmith (960400) | about 10 months ago | (#46224671)

Apparently some AC knows that nobody alive today knows how old the universe it. It is hilarious to read difinitively[sic] how s/he claims to know.

Astronomy: Astrology for Physicists (4, Interesting)

musmax (1029830) | about 10 months ago | (#46224557)

I don't get it. If it so old it should be an ember by now, or does it still radiate ? If its only 6k ly from here then it still radiates right ? Also, if it is so old it should have 'expanded' away enormously.... or not. Its like finding a live dinosaur in your back yard.

Re:Astronomy: Astrology for Physicists (4, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 10 months ago | (#46224627)

Small stars can live a very long-time. For example a red dwarf that is a tenth the size of the sun can likely keep burning for trillions of years. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_dwarf [wikipedia.org] . A star of the size discussed here easily has billions of years more to it lifespan.

Re:Astronomy: Astrology for Physicists (2)

LurkerXXX (667952) | about 10 months ago | (#46224971)

Look to the post above.

Large stars have high interior pressure. Fusion rates are high. The stars burn out fast.

Small stars have much lower internal pressure. Fusion rates are low. The stars can last a long, long, long time.

Re:Astronomy: Astrology for Physicists (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | about 10 months ago | (#46226393)

But Red Dwarf was only 3 million years old when Dave Lister woke up.

Re:Astronomy: Astrology for Physicists (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46224637)

That's actually a really fucking good point. I don't understand that either. If it's 13 billion years old, how the fuck is it still going? If it were 13 billion light years away or some shit, then yeah I'd get it. But 6,000???? Can someone with some legit knowledge explain this?

Re:Astronomy: Astrology for Physicists (4, Funny)

avgjoe62 (558860) | about 10 months ago | (#46224799)

It's an LED star, not an incandescent...

Re:Astronomy: Astrology for Physicists (5, Interesting)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about 10 months ago | (#46225053)

Very small stars are like small cars, very fuel efficient. Large stars have a higher pressure in the core, and fusion runs faster. The core is so dense it does not convect. The amount of fuel in the core is all the star has to fuse. A red dwarf is fully convective. All the gas in the star drops down into the core, heats up, and raises back to the surface. The star can therefore fuse all the gas in the entire star, not just the gas in the core. So, it uses all its potential fuel, very conservatively. Therefore, it can last a long time.

Re:Astronomy: Astrology for Physicists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46225883)

Why even ask the question? Why assume any random star would last more than a few hundred years? I mean if it were made of coal, surely it would have burned itself out by now. And besides, the universe isn't 6000 years old. I know this, because I get all my science from the Bible.

Re:Astronomy: Astrology for Physicists (1)

eennaarbrak (1089393) | about 10 months ago | (#46226663)

If it were 13 billion light years away or some shit, then yeah I'd get it. But 6,000???? Can someone with some legit knowledge explain this?

There is no law that I'm aware of that states that objects closer to us have to be somehow newer. The Big Bang happened all around us - yes, right there where you are standing. And everywhere else in the universe. So the oldest thing in the universe may very well be very close to us. In fact, all the sub-atomic particles that you and I are made of are as old as the universe, so that statement is trivially true.

This intuition that old things are very far away probably originates from the fact that when we look at objects very far away, we are looking into the past at "old" objects, because of the limitations imposed by the speed of light. That does not mean that objects closer to us have to be somehow "newer".

Re:Astronomy: Astrology for Physicists (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 10 months ago | (#46227021)

Why the fuck would you expect it not to be still going?

Re:Astronomy: Astrology for Physicists (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46225167)

I don't get it. If it so old it should be an ember by now, or does it still radiate ? If its only 6k ly from here then it still radiates right ? Also, if it is so old it should have 'expanded' away enormously.... or not.

Its like finding a live dinosaur in your back yard.

You can have stars that last 20 billion years (we assume), so 13 billion odd is fine.

  The other point you bring up is more interesting. The 6k light years away is interesting. It may have been a very near star 10 billion years ago, near the suns predecessor or its predecessor. But space was smaller back then, everyone was friends back then.

Re:Astronomy: Astrology for Physicists (1)

Leroy Brown (71070) | about 10 months ago | (#46225175)

Regarding expansion, as I understand it, the effects on objects within something as small as a galaxy are insignificant compared to the force of gravity holding the galaxy together.

The greater the distance between two objects, the greater the effect of expansion; and so it does become significant when comparing two distant galaxies.

Re:Astronomy: Astrology for Physicists (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about 10 months ago | (#46226633)

If it so old it should be an ember by now, or does it still radiate ?

If it didn't radiate they probably wouldn't have noticed it.

Re:Astronomy: Astrology for Physicists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46226815)

Why would it be an ember? Why wouldn't it radiate given it's very obviously a tiny red dwarf -- many of which are modelled to have lives vastly greater than the age of the universe? (Indeed, given that, and given that a large number of the red dwarfs we see are population II stars and therefore rather old themselves, it would be more shocking if we *didn't* see stars from very near the birth of the universe. What's interesting here is just how bloody old this star is; it must represent very near the beginnings of population II.) What on Earth does its distance from Earth have to do with whether it still radiates? That question makes no sense at all. Why would being old mean it "expanded" away enormously?

Stars don't become embers, except metaphorically. They're powered by fusion, not by charcoal. It hasn't become the stellar analogue of an ember because it's still hydrogen burning. It radiates because it's still hydrogen burning. It's only 6000 light years away but this has no bearing on whether it's still hydrogen burning or not and I've literally no idea why you think it does. It hasn't "expanded away enormously" because it's still hydrogen burning. Stars only expand like that when they start burning helium, although that is only a small expansion, and then when they start burning heavier elements and begin to turn into giants. But this star is very unlikely to get past helium burning because it simply isn't big enough, meaning that there won't be the gravity necessary to compress the core to high enough temperatures to start, say, lithium burning.

Oldest Known Star? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46224893)

Oh, I thought this was another article about Cher or Bono...

Is this news? (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about 10 months ago | (#46224949)

the first stars don't have elements heavier elements generally thought to be created in supernovae, and large stars?

Who knew?

except this is so fucking basic astronomy knowledge they teach it to first year university students, with no knowledge of either astronomy or physics

Good grief charlie brown.

Re:Is this news? (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 10 months ago | (#46225283)

That's not the "news" part, in the same way an article about a plane crash is not "news" of gravity. Not everyone on the planet has listened to Sagan and his "we are star stuff" speech, some people still need to be taught (including first year astronomy students). A rehashing of "basic knowlege" helps these readers understand how the astronomers determined the age of the star in question, after all the stars age is the "news" part.

Shouldn't it be "Light from oldest star..." (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about 10 months ago | (#46225065)

I mean, how do we know it's still there? It could have assploded yesterday and we won't know it for 6000 years.

Re:Shouldn't it be "Light from oldest star..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46225205)

But since that is true of all stars, constantly saying that is pointless.

Re:Shouldn't it be "Light from oldest star..." (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 10 months ago | (#46225335)

No. Time is relative - when will pedants stop being confused by this?

Re:Shouldn't it be "Light from oldest star..." (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 10 months ago | (#46225445)

when will pedants stop being confused by this?

. . . by his logic, they already have . . .

Re:Shouldn't it be "Light from oldest star..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46225907)

Not me man, I get all my science from the Bible. And, by God, that fucker, like Beta, is never wrong.

Until they discover (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46225137)

another one.

Oldest known star happens to be in our galaxy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46225683)

I'm finidng the title very misleading.
This is like walking into a supermarket and claiming you've found the oldest known twinkie.

I guess theoretically... (1)

John Allsup (987) | about 10 months ago | (#46225753)

...that there's only a finite number of stars in the observable universe, so eventually they'll exhaustively find the oldest one of the lot, provided they can see it, and accurately verify its age, and tick off all the other candidates so as to ensure they have the correct answer. Then one has to ask what real-world survival problem will ever be aided by such research?

Re:I guess theoretically... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46226833)

I don't know. Perhaps advances in technology or maybe just something for the nations of Earth to focus on besides killing each other.

In our current routine of ignorance, humanity won't survive another thousand years.

Re:I guess theoretically... (1)

a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) | about 10 months ago | (#46227013)

Knowing which is the oldest object in the world is like doing archaeology.

Looking at old objects we humans can determine more about how the world looked like when the object was created. The materials that was used. The way the object was formed.

It's important information that helps give a greater understanding of our universe and how it was created and the condition that then existed.

Accurate description (1)

Roshan Halappanavar (2994663) | about 10 months ago | (#46225775)

"......discovered the oldest known star in the Universe"

Thanks submitter for using a scientifically accurate description rather like in TFA where they say it's the oldest star in the Universe..

Wouldn't that be... (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 10 months ago | (#46225781)

Wouldn't that be oldest unknown star in the universe discovered? One would think that if it was already known, it wouldn't be much of a discovery!

Measuring tools aren't calibrated (1)

glitch23 (557124) | about 10 months ago | (#46226081)

Of course, all these ages and distances assume one huge piece of information has always been constant: speed of light. What if it hasn't? Has anyone bothered to verify through these 6k light years that the light was always traveling at the same speed ?

Religion Disguised as Science. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46226319)

I am SO sick of this "Big Bang" Stuff. Such utter tripe. I wonder if the Big bang cases global warming?

Artificial stellar modification? (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | about 10 months ago | (#46226429)

With the right technology, would it be possible to artificially change a stars apparent age, e.g. by siphoning off the heavier atoms in its atmosphere with magnetic fields?

Artificially modified stars, if they exist, could be a way to detect extraterrestrial intelligence over truly vast distances.

Old NEws (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46226583)

Come on Slashdot. This is WEEKS old

Interesting but is it low metallicity compelling e (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46226671)

Ok, so this star has very low metallicity and very old stars in general has low metallicity. That's one line of evidence, but all it -really- proves for this particular star is that it was made out of material with little metal in it. That may or may not have happened a very long time ago, and I'd like to see some explanations that confirms the age in some hopefully independent way. 6000 LY is practically in our back yard so it should be possible to take a really hard look at that star's neighbourhood to see if there are some clues there.

Interesting finding in any case.

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