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Fraser
2004-Aug-22, 04:30 PM
SUMMARY: Here's a question that's surprisingly difficult to answer: how old is the Milky Way? A team of astronomers have used the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope to get an approximate age of 13.6 billion years, give or take 800 million. They reached this estimate by studying some of the oldest stars in our galaxy, which are located in globular star clusters, and born together in the same cloud of dust at the same time. They made difficult observations of a substance called Beryllium-9, which has been accumulating throughout the Universe since the Big Bang.

What do you think about this story? Post your comments below.

om@umr.edu
2004-Aug-22, 06:47 PM
Fraser, I am confused by this story.

Did they simply added:

13,400 800 million years
+ (200 - 300) million years
13,600 800 million years

With kind regards,

Oliver
http://www.umr.edu/~om

TuTone
2004-Aug-22, 08:11 PM
I'm confused! How do you estimate the age of the milky way? All you can do is estimate, but for all we know the universe could be older than that. lol.....give or take 800 million. :lol:
it could be give or take 1 billion or even 2.
Life is wierd, but yet interesting. :mellow:

om@umr.edu
2004-Aug-22, 08:36 PM
I agree, TuTone.

A lot of "estimates" are "guesstimates."

You don't improve your knowledge of the weight of a 4 ton elephant by adding on the weight of the fleas on the beast.

Hang in there!

Oliver
http://www.umr.edu/~om

GOURDHEAD
2004-Aug-23, 12:18 PM
They reached this estimate by studying some of the oldest stars in our galaxy, which are located in globular star clusters, and born together in the same cloud of dust at the same time. They made difficult observations of a substance called Beryllium-9, which has been accumulating throughout the Universe since the Big Bang.

It seems the estimate has to be made based on a lot of assumptions about how the MW grew to its current configuration How long has each star cluster been a part of the MW? However, I find the estimate to be plausible for the parts to which it applies. This could mean that we (our biota) are among the oldest living organisms in the universe thus explaining the paucity of indications of other ET. Even though our system is only a tad over 5,000,000,000 years old, the other 8,600,000,000 years may have been required to produce the minimum density of the CHON elements.

DIGITARA
2004-Aug-24, 04:29 AM
Oh dear..........things must be quiet at the observatory.............


get the tape measure out again...... :rolleyes:



Digitara