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Star Formation

Stars are formed from a nebula, and have different life cycles depending on their size.

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The Methuselah Star

The Methuselah Star


Credit: NASA
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:HD-140283.tif
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

In the constellation Libra, we can see the oldest known star in the Milky Way Galaxy. Although its official name is HD 140283, it is known as the Methuselah Star.

Amazing But True!

  • HD 140283 is the oldest known star in the Milky Way.
  • The star is 190.1 light years from Earth
  • The star was initially calculated to be older than the universe, which would seem to be impossible
  • The Hubble Space Telescope refined the distance measurement and a new age calculation was made.

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With the links below, learn more about HD 14028. Then answer the following questions.

  1. Why did scientists think that HD 140283 was worth studying?
  2. How did astronomers calculate the distance of HD 140283 to Earth?
  3. If the star is calculated to be 14.5 billion years old, with an error of plus or minus 800 million years, what is the range in age that the star could be?
  4. Which of those ages is most likely to be right? Why?
  5. What is the unusual history of this star?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: NASA; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:HD-140283.tif; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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