A Star That’s 200,000,000 Years Older than the Universe

Universe is Younger Than HD 140283

Meet HD 140283 or Methuselah the oldest star in the universe. It’s 14.5 billion years old a number that’s difficult to get your head around. After all our universe is only 13.8 billion years old and how is this even possible?

How can anything have appeared earlier than space-time and the whole universe?

Scientists have been observing Methuselah for the past 100 years. Until recently very little was known about this star. Only that, it’s located 190 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Libra and penetrates outer space at a speed of 800,000 miles or 1.3 million kilometers per hour. This was pretty much the sum of our knowledge about Methuselah and the star itself did not cause keen interest for many people. However everything changed dramatically when in 2000 astronomers attempted to measure the age of Methuselah.

According to early estimates it was a record 16 billion years old. Scientists could not believe that this was at all possible. So they decided to conduct further research. Howard Bond of Pennsylvania State University along with his colleagues collected more than 11 sets of observations that were obtained between 2003 and 2011 using Hubble’s fine guiding sensors that record the positions, distances and energy of stars. In addition to this for 6 months, Bond studied the parallax effect. That is the change in the apparent position of a star relative to the distant background. In reference to the position of the observer. This allows you to better calculate the ratio, between the brightness of the star and its distance from the earth.

Howard Bond’s Study

Since the older the star the dimmer its light will be. During this study Bond could not justify the earlier estimated age of the star. So, he supposed that mistakes were made in the his calculations. Initially the age of the star was measured by the rate of nuclear reactions. The faster the star consumes hydrogen in the core, the younger it is. With age instead of hydrogen, helium is formed acting as stellar fuel. Therefore after a billion years a star loses some of its brightness.

Methuselah is rather dull and estimated to have burned hydrogen for about 16 billion years. Through this method of calculating, the age of a star cannot be considered accurate. This led scientists to look for other clues. They could prove that Methuselah might be younger. After some time scientists still found one sign that most likely indicates a younger age for the star. It has to do with oxygen. In the early universe, it was practically non-existent. But in Methuselah, the ratio of oxygen to other elements was quite high.

The increased oxygen content together with all the other indicators allowed scientists to lower the estimate of the present age of the star to 14.46 billion years. But this still doesn’t explain the phenomenon. Because this makes the star 660 million years older than the universe. But researchers didn’t stop there, they continued to try to get to the bottom of this mystery.

Study on Big Bang by Howard Bond

In 2014, another study was conducted that reduced the estimated age of the star even further to 14.27 billion years. Given the margin of error in the calculations, the star is about 14 billion years old, which still makes it 200 million years older than the universe. However, Howard Bond considered that the error could be greater, which means that the star is perhaps younger and appeared immediately after the Big Bang.

This could have been the end. But there’s another study that simply shocked astronomers and perplexed the entire world. According to information obtained in 2013, by the Planck Space Telescope, the universe can only be 11.4 billion years old, not 13.8. Similar conclusions have been based on the expansion rate of the universe. Until the end of the 20th century, physicists believed that the universe was expanding at a rate of 41.63 miles or 67.4 kilometers per second.

Given this indicator, scientists obtained an age of 13.8 billion years. According to a newer study the speed is approximately 45.9 or 74 kilometers per second. According to these numbers, the universe is only 12.7 billion years old. Then scientists made even more accurate calculations and it turned out that the universe is expanding even faster at 50.95 miles or 82.4 kilometers per second. That means it’s only 11.4 billion years old.

Universe Expansion On Hubble Constant

The expansion rate of the universe, the so called Hubble constant, can be calculated in two main ways. By studying the relic radiation and by measuring the distances between galaxies. In the first case, the Big Bang itself provides basic information. After this grandiose event which gave rise to everything. Light was left behind, which scientists call the cosmic microwave background or relic radiation. Astronomers have compiled extremely accurate maps of this background, which allows us to simulate the early universe, its composition and speed of expansion.

By the second method, astronomers collect data from galaxies, stars and supernovae. These objects change their luminosity as they move further away. So that you can measure the speed of the expansion of space. This is where all the inconsistencies begin. According to the first method, the age of the universe corresponds to the number that you’ll see. If you search on Google or Wikipedia that is 13.8 billion. However in terms of the second method, space and time are a couple of billion years younger. Perhaps our universe during different periods of its existence, simply expanded at different rates of speed.

Only none of the existing theories today are able to explain this, the fact is that – “the expansion is influenced by dark energy, the opposite force to gravity”. True, no one knows for sure what this mysterious force actually is. But physicists were always sure that it was constant. But if this were so, the rate of expansion would also remain stable throughout the entire existence of the universe. Which is not, What we observe. So, it would seem as if we have missed something. There’s probably something that can influence dark energy.

Massimo Se Doneö’s Theory

Physicists Massimo Se Doneö, from the university of Padova tried to figure out what exactly causes our universe to be so unstable. He’s focused on the fact that dark energy is largely dependent on quantum fields. Each similar field is assigned a separate type of particle and extends to all of space-time.

For example, all electrons belong to the field of electrons and neutrinos respectively to the field of neutrinos. The energy arising from the interactions of these fields, determines the expansion rate of the universe. However, when physicists tried to calculate the energy of all existing quantum fields. The result is a number 120 orders of magnitude, greater than the calculated amount of dark energy. Therefore, Massimo Se Doneö suggested that there must be a special particle unknown to science, capable of influencing dark energy and the entire universe as a whole.

True, the presence of such a particle has been predicted in earlier research in the field of physics and has even been given a name Axion. Presumably, this particle appeared immediately after the Big Bang but has remained hidden for billions of years and did not manifest itself in any way. But recently, the Axion has gained influence and has changed the entire field of research about the development of the universe with its quantum field. Thanks to which we can no longer accurately say when space and time itself arose.

Time Is In Different Speed

This leads to curious thoughts, if the universe is expanding faster than it did 13 billion years ago. Does this mean that time is also passing at a different speed?

Today, that is with 10 minutes in the 21st century be different from 10 minutes at the dawn of the universe. It’s rather difficult to answer these questions without ambiguity. But whatever the answer Methuselah still remains older than the universe. At least it will be so until scientists solve the mystery of dark energy and its elusive particles. Through, if after all future calculations, this star remains the oldest in the universe. Maybe then there was something else before the Big Bang.

The problem of stars older than the universe already caused confusion for scientists earlier. Back in the 90s, astronomers calculations showed the age of some stars to be as many as 20 billion years. However with the development of technology, calculations became more accurate and knowledge gaps were filled with new theories and experimental discoveries. Therefore I will continue to monitor all the changes in science. So, that you are the first to know about the most interesting and incredible discoveries in our universe.

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