I just learned that one of the universe’s oldest stars lies inside the Libra constellation - HD 140283, a.k.a. Methuselah. A recent study suggests it’s about 12 billion years old - that’s not that long after the Big Bang. One of the clues is it’s low metallicity - it was born in a time when metals were rare and everything was made mostly of hydrogen and helium. Methuselah is around 200 light years away and you need binoculars or a telescope to see it. If you do, remember that the photons that land on your retina (splat!) were made inside an extremely experienced photon maker indeed. 👵🏻
1. Hubble finds birth certificate of oldest known star. NASA. Available at: nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/science/hd140283.html (Last updated: July 2013; Accessed: September 2021).
2. Plait P. Methuselah’s star is not older than the universe after all. But it’s still pretty frakking old. Bad Astronomy. Available at: syfy.com/syfywire/methuselahs-star-is-not-older-than-the-universe-after-all-but-its-still-pretty-frakking-old (Last updated: May 2021; Accessed: September 2021).
3. Tang J and Joyce M. Revised best estimates for the age and mass of the Methuselah star HD 140283 using MESA and interferometry and implications for 1D convection. Res Notes AAS 2021;5:117. Available at: iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/2515-5172/ac01ca (Accessed: September 2021).
4. Big Bang. Cosmos, Swinburne Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing. Available at: astronomy.swin.edu.au/cosmos/B/Big+Bang (Accessed: September 2021).