Story of the star Methuselah, which is “older than the universe”

(ORDO NEWS) — Modern spectroscopic analyzes show that the content of iron in the star Methuselah is about 250 times lower than in the Sun, which is an absolute norm, since during the historical period when this star was born, heavy elements were very rare in the Universe.

When was the star Methuselah born?

Early observations of the star Methuselah showed it to be about 14.46 billion years old and formed shortly after the Big Bang (the birth of the universe).

But how is this possible when the age of the universe, according to an unprecedentedly accurate measurement using NASA’s Planck Space Telescope, is 13.761 ± 0.038 billion years?

This “age paradox” of Methuselah gave rise to many articles and videos, the authors of which called the star an “anomaly of the Milky Way”, “an object from a parallel dimension”, “an unresolved mystery of the millennium” and other meaningless phrases devoid of scientific value.

Speaking about the “anomaly of the Universe”, the authors of the materials ignored (most likely consciously) the fact that the star continued to be observed using for these purposes more and more accurate instruments placed on the most modern telescopes.

Methuselah’s age paradox

In 2013, a study was published based on observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, whose instruments were used to measure the parallax (and therefore distance and luminosity) of Methuselah.

The data obtained made it possible to establish that the age of the star is 14.46 ± 0.8 billion years.

And this error plays an important role, since the age of Methuselah can be 13.66 billion years, which is already less than the age of the Universe. However, the error can be much larger.

Story of the star Methuselah which is older than the universe 2
Visualization of NASA’s Planck space observatory

Alternative Data

The star Methuselah is not included in either the main sequence or the class of red giants, so the history of its evolution can be purely theoretical.

This is due to the fact that we did not find similar stars at different stages of development in order to trace the aging process of representatives of this particular class.

The most relevant model (2021) of the evolution of Methuselah, based on quantum mechanics and observations of processes in millions of different luminaries, showed that the age of the star is from 12.01 ± 0.05 billion years, which “fits” into the framework of the age of the Universe.

The age paradox of Methuselah is connected only with the imperfection of our methods and technologies used to determine the ages of atypical stars. No magic.


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