Universal Clocks

Pushing the limits of its powerful vision, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered the oldest burned-out stars in our Milky Way Galaxy. These extremely old, dim stars provide a completely independent reading of the universe's age without relying on measurements of the universe's expansion.

The ancient white dwarf stars, as seen by Hubble, turn out to be 12 to 13 billion years old. Because earlier Hubble observations show that the first stars formed less than 1 billion years after the universe's birth in the big bang, finding the oldest stars puts astronomers well within arm's reach of calculating the absolute age of the universe.

Credit:

NASA/ESA and NOAO/AURA/NSF

About the Image

NASA press release
NASA caption
Id:opo0210a
Type:Collage
Release date:24 April 2002, 19:00
Size:2399 x 2999 px

About the Object

Name:M 4, Messier 4, NGC 6121
Type:• Milky Way : Star : Grouping : Cluster : Globular
• X - Star Clusters Images/Videos
• X - Cosmology Images/Videos
Distance:5500 light years

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Ultraviolet
U
336 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2
Optical
V
555 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2
Infrared
I
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2

Notes: The bottom two images were captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. The top image was capture by the Kitt Peak National Observatory's 0.9-meter telescope in March 1995.


Image Formats

Large JPEG
1.5 MB
Screensize JPEG
530.3 KB

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