Home > Astronomy, Cosmology, General Astronomy, Globular Clusters > Stars Reveal The Secrets Of Looking Young

Stars Reveal The Secrets Of Looking Young


NGC 6388, a dynamically middle-aged globular cluster in the Milky Way. Credit: ESO, F. Ferraro (University of Bologna)

NGC 6388, a dynamically middle-aged globular cluster in the Milky Way. Credit: ESO, F. Ferraro (University of Bologna)

Some people are in great shape at the age of 90, while others are decrepit before they’re 50. We know that how fast people age is only loosely linked to how old they actually are — and may have more to do with their lifestyle. A new study using both the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope reveals that the same is true of star clusters.

Globular clusters are spherical collections of stars, tightly bound to each other by their mutual gravity. Relics of the early years of the Universe, with ages of typically 12–13 billion years (the Big Bang took place 13.7 billion years ago), there are roughly 150 globular clusters in the Milky Way and they contain many of our galaxy’s oldest stars.

But while the stars are old and the clusters formed in the distant past, astronomers using the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have found that some of these clusters are still young at heart. The research is presented in the 20 December 2012 issue of the journal Nature.

“Although these clusters all formed billions of years ago,” says Francesco Ferraro (University of Bologna, Italy), the leader of the team that made the discovery, “we wondered whether some might be aging faster or slower than others. By studying the distribution of a type of blue star that exists in the clusters, we found that some clusters had indeed evolved much faster over their lifetimes, and we developed a way to measure the rate of aging.”

Full Story:http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1252/
Also: http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/heic1221/

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  1. December 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    That is really interesting and funny!

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