In Australia, astronomers have discovered something new and extremely important for today’s technology lingering 6,000 light years away in the observable universe. They have discovered the most ancient star acknowledged by science and estimated it to be about 13.6 billion years old which means it would have been formed relatively shortly after the big bang. This discovery will open up many new doors into the entity and term of its older ancestors, the universes first generation of stars. This may not be of concern to many people but in the science world this is a huge exposition. Just knowing that there is something older out there can spark curiosity in many who take an interest in the wonders of outer space.
This ancient star was found in the Milky Way galaxy. Many would think that since the Milky Way is not that far away, then the star could not possibly be that old and that it should be located around the edge of the observable universe. That is not necessarily true. The star can be at any distance from the earth within the viewable universe and still not have been discovered until later. The contents of the star and what material it is made of determines the age of the star. Even though it is very old it does not mean that it can only be found at a great distance away from the earth. It can be ancient and still be sustainable at a very close distance.
Since it has been found located approximately 6,000 light years away, that means that those who are looking at it are examining it at its age of 6,000 years old. When looking into the sky and staring at the stars, it is literally looking into the past. Looking back in time at this ancient star is seeing it as how it looked 6,000 years ago. That is because the light that is seen in the sky had actually left the initial star 6,000 years ago and is now able to be viewed in our observable universe. Astrologists have discovered a very old star which they had believed to be the oldest star within the viewable universe. Amazingly this new discovery is 400 million years older than the latest found ancient star.
According to astronomers, the less iron content measured within a star the older it is. This star was formed just like the generations of the first stars and had sixty times the mass of the sun. It had exhibited components of pollution such as carbon instead of iron. It is amazing that technology is so advanced that it is able to determine how much of the stars content is made up of iron at such a great distance so far away in order to figure its approximate age.
This discovery of the most ancient star in the universe may be unknowingly important to many people who do not follow or take an interest in science. Some will ask how this is in any way good for anything. How can this help solve anything going on in today’s world? Some will see this as useless or worse for the economy because new discovers means new studies, and new studies means more funding. The way some see it, this funding could be going towards starvation in third world countries, decreasing pollution, or aiding in areas where disaster has struck. How could this discovery be of any use to the average person? The answer is this… before anything could be invented, something must be discovered. Understanding science, even astronomy, is important in order to construct new advanced technology which only comes from true research.
By Brittany Varner-Miller