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Study: Universe 13 Billion Years Old
AP | Wednesday, April 24, 2002; 4:21 PM | Paul Recer

Posted on 04/24/2002 6:30:34 PM PDT by longshadow

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Big time cosmology implications!
1 posted on 04/24/2002 6:30:35 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: longshadow
The universe is about 13 billion years old, slightly younger than previously believed...

Amazing...13 billion? I could swear, it doesn't look any older than 8 billion. Really.

2 posted on 04/24/2002 6:31:56 PM PDT by Recovering_Democrat
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To: Physicist; ThinkPlease; purple haze; RadioAstronomer; Scully; edwin hubble; PatrickHenry; VadeRetro
cosmological bump!
3 posted on 04/24/2002 6:34:43 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: Recovering_Democrat
Really! It's looking pretty good for its age, too, isn't it? It's old news, however. What they're seeing happened over 7,000 years ago, the news is just now reaching us. (grin)
4 posted on 04/24/2002 6:39:16 PM PDT by nightdriver
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To: longshadow
"These are the coolest white dwarf stars that we know about in the universe," said Richer. "These stars get cooler and cooler and less luminous as they age."

He added: "We think we have seen the faintest ones. If we haven't, then we'll have to rethink" the conclusions.

What if some of the white dwarfs have already "gone out"? How would you know?

the Hubble Space Telescope collected light from M4 for eight days over a 67-day period. Only then did the very faintest of the white dwarfs become visible.

If they collected light for an additional 8 days, or 80 days, would additional, "dimmer" white dwarfs become visible?

5 posted on 04/24/2002 6:40:01 PM PDT by FairWitness
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To: longshadow
From the lead article:
Harvey B. Richer, an astronomer at the University of British Columbia, said the Hubble Space Telescope gathered images of the faintest dying stars it could find in M4, a star cluster some 7,000 light years away.

Is that the farthest cluster in which we can distinguish such stars? On the one hand, it's not all that far (cosmologically speaking); but on the other hand, resolving individual stars in such a cluster seems quite a trick.

6 posted on 04/24/2002 6:40:42 PM PDT by PatrickHenry
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To: longshadow
Well, it's decided then! Good thing this is cleared up.... until the next estimate is made.
7 posted on 04/24/2002 6:43:06 PM PDT by ValerieUSA
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To: longshadow
Study: Universe 13 Billion Years Old

When? Today? I didn't get it a thing. Why didn't someone tell me?

8 posted on 04/24/2002 6:45:19 PM PDT by Risky Schemer
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To: longshadow
They don't even know when humans came on the scene - 50,000 years ago? 100,000? How can they ever know how old the universe is? They should concentrate on proving that wonderful theory the dinosaur was wiped out by an asteroid.

These people actually get paid to make educated guesses like this? Where can I get a job like that?

9 posted on 04/24/2002 6:48:22 PM PDT by Reaganwuzthebest
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To: longshadow
Give or take a few billion, and until the next theory comes along.
10 posted on 04/24/2002 6:49:24 PM PDT by Cicero
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To: Risky Schemer

When? Today? I didn't get it a thing. Why didn't someone tell me?

Hustle down to Hallmark.

They have some of those "belated" thingys you can send.

11 posted on 04/24/2002 6:52:45 PM PDT by billorites
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To: longshadow
These may be the coolest white dwarfs we know about in the universe, but Tommy Daschle is still the coolest white dwarf in the U.S. Senate, at least in his own mind.
12 posted on 04/24/2002 6:53:19 PM PDT by Verginius Rufus
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To: FairWitness
If they collected light for an additional 8 days, or 80 days, would additional, "dimmer" white dwarfs become visible?

This was addressed in the press conference today. They took exposures that were adequate to detect fainter white dwarfs if they existed, but they found none; hence they conclude that these ARE the faintest.

13 posted on 04/24/2002 6:54:44 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: FairWitness
What if some of the white dwarfs have already "gone out"?

White dwarf stars take a gigantically long time to "go out" (which in this case means to cool until they cannot be seen).

14 posted on 04/24/2002 6:59:22 PM PDT by Physicist
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To: PatrickHenry
Is that the farthest cluster in which we can distinguish such stars?

Excellent question, grasshopper.....

It is actually the CLOSEST cluster where astronomers hoped to detect such faint beasts, because of the limitations in their equipment precluded from being able to detect objects this faint at greater distances....

..... however, the new equipment JUST installed last month on the Hubble Space Telescope will be many times more sensitive that what they used for this research, and thus will be invaluable in observing more distant clusters to see if the data collected from them supports (or contradicts) this finding.

15 posted on 04/24/2002 6:59:41 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
How can they ever know how old the universe is?

By looking at the evidence. The universe obeys physical laws, you know.

These people actually get paid to make educated guesses like this?

No, they get paid to make measurements like this.

Where can I get a job like that?

You start by spending twelve years in college (as I did).

16 posted on 04/24/2002 7:01:57 PM PDT by Physicist
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To: longshadow
The younger the universe actually is, the better I like it. First, we may be among the earliest intelligent species to evolve, so if we can develop the technology for interstellar travel, we may have a big head start on everyone else. Second, the earlier we are in the cosmological history of the universe, the longer we have to play out our destiny. Of course, eventually it all comes to an end, so it doesn't really matter. Nothing really matters ... grumble, grumble. Still, I persevere.
17 posted on 04/24/2002 7:05:16 PM PDT by PatrickHenry
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
These people actually get paid to make educated guesses like this? Where can I get a job like that?

Well, first you start out with an IQ of say 140+, then you matriculate at a first tier university, and major in Physics, or Mathematics, or Astronomy, and after four years of hard work you get your Bachelor's degree; then you apply to grad school and get into an Astronomy/Astrophysics program, and after a couple more years of hard work, you'll have your Master's degree, and then you put in more time doing original research on your doctoral Thesis, which, with a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, might be accepted, and so you eventually get your Ph.D.

Then you go to work, continuing to do original research like these guys did, and by that time you would have come to understand how it is that scientists are able to devise observations that measure the age of the Universe using multiple independent methods, which indicate very similar results.

18 posted on 04/24/2002 7:08:37 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: Physicist
What does college have to do with anything? I've got six behind me, so what? With all of our technology, we still haven't scratched the surface of what's out there. You can measure till the sun goes down, it's still all theories. You've got some scientists saying the universe is expanding, while others say no no, it's contracting. They haven't got a clue, neither do I, and neither do you.
19 posted on 04/24/2002 7:10:11 PM PDT by Reaganwuzthebest
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To: Cicero
Give or take a few billion, and until the next theory comes along.

Actually, the error in their measurement is half a billion years, which is roughly 4%. Not bad.

20 posted on 04/24/2002 7:10:37 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: Cicero
These scientists sure have a thing for older universes. I myself, prefer younger ones with perkier nebula.
21 posted on 04/24/2002 7:12:36 PM PDT by Northpaw
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To: longshadow
Oh yeah, right. 13 Billion. The whole universe that goes on for infinity. hehechchchee. Who's paying this guy. Please tell me not us.
22 posted on 04/24/2002 7:13:46 PM PDT by Osinski
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Comment #23 Removed by Moderator

To: PatrickHenry
Nothing really matters ... grumble, grumble. Still, I persevere.

What does your mascot, Plato the Platypus, say about it?

24 posted on 04/24/2002 7:15:19 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
You can measure till the sun goes down ...

You'll get better results if you do it after the sun goes down.

25 posted on 04/24/2002 7:15:27 PM PDT by PatrickHenry
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To: Northpaw
I myself, prefer younger ones with perkier nebula.

Watch it; this is a family forum.

;-)

26 posted on 04/24/2002 7:16:59 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: longshadow
What does your mascot, Plato the Platypus, say about it?

Plato says 14.2 billion years.

27 posted on 04/24/2002 7:17:27 PM PDT by PatrickHenry
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To: longshadow
I don't doubt the intelligence of these people, and for our survival, that of mankind it's good to research these things as best they can. But I prefer to see proof, not theories. And the age of the universe is way to speculative. They're not even certain about the so-called big-bang theory, so the whole origins of the universe will probably never be be known for certain.
28 posted on 04/24/2002 7:20:08 PM PDT by Reaganwuzthebest
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To: Physicist
You start by spending twelve years in college

Oh heck, I could do that. :-)

29 posted on 04/24/2002 7:22:29 PM PDT by jlogajan
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
And the age of the universe is way to speculative. They're not even certain about the so-called big-bang theory, so the whole origins of the universe will probably never be be known for certain.

There are dozens of very good books on the subject, written in layman's language by the very people who are doing this research. You'd be amazed to discover how much in agreement they all are. They explain their thinking, their evidence, and how they arrive at their conclusions. Very stimulating reading. Try it.

30 posted on 04/24/2002 7:24:56 PM PDT by PatrickHenry
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
But I prefer to see proof, not theories.

Then I suggest you restrict yourself to logic, Mathematics, and distilled spirits, the only realms in which absolute "proof" is possible.

Scientific theories are based on consonance with observed evidence and multiple unsuccessfull attempts at falsification. Thus, they are NEVER "proven" in the sense of metaphysical certitude. That is the nature of science, and it has seerved us very well, despite it's shortcomings.

31 posted on 04/24/2002 7:27:23 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
"These people actually get paid to make educated guesses like this?"

This has to be the ultimate job --predicting the age of the Universe as one of the "important" tasks of an astronomer. Sorta like the "job" of counting the angels on the head of a pin.

I remember the scientists a few years ago who "discovered" asteroids colliding with the planet Jupiter. They were dancing in the streets. Total contribution to Mankind for this crucial "discovery"? Nada. Zilch. Nothing.

32 posted on 04/24/2002 7:32:35 PM PDT by F16Fighter
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To: Osinski; Physicist
Oh yeah, right. 13 Billion. The whole universe that goes on for infinity.

If you are having trouble understanding that these two concepts are NOT mutually exclusive, I suggest you avail yourself of "Physicists" knowledge, expertise, and amazing ability to explain complex scientific concepts in a manner easily understood by layman.

He's right here on this thread. I'm sure he'd be happy to explain it to you if you were to ask him.

33 posted on 04/24/2002 7:32:38 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: Osinski
The whole universe that goes on for infinity.

Does it?

34 posted on 04/24/2002 7:39:13 PM PDT by jlogajan
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To: longshadow
Before you can find proof of something, you have to work out theories so you have some idea what you're trying to prove. So what you're saying I'm in total agreement with. But the laws of physics are not necessarily absolute. There have been instances out there in space where what they thought, or expected to be ocurring was not.

They're going back 13 billion light years in time to see what happened then because that's how long it took for the light to reach us. But for all we know, as another poster said the universe goes on in infinity, there are probably galaxies a hundred trillion light years away, and farther. My point is, and it's a theory, fifteen billion years for the universe is like a second for us. It's been around a lot longer than that.

35 posted on 04/24/2002 7:45:34 PM PDT by Reaganwuzthebest
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To: longshadow
Yay! Yet another contradictory story about the age of the earth. These "scientists" (and I use the term loosely) will never get a clue.
36 posted on 04/24/2002 7:52:23 PM PDT by DennisR
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To: Recovering_Democrat
". . . between 13 and 14 billion years ago."

You would thank that, given the utter and sheer brilliance of these "experts," that they would be able to get the age of the earth closer than to within 1,000,000,000 years.
37 posted on 04/24/2002 7:54:45 PM PDT by DennisR
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To: DennisR
Yet another contradictory story about the age of the earth.

Okay; I'll bite.

Show us the contradiction you alluded to.

38 posted on 04/24/2002 7:55:58 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
the universe goes on in infinity

Does it?

the universe [has] been around a lot longer than [fifteen billion years].

Has it?

39 posted on 04/24/2002 7:57:21 PM PDT by jlogajan
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To: longshadow
". . . multiple independent methods . . ." is no guarantee that accuracy is achieved, especially if the "multiple independent methods" are all erroneous.
40 posted on 04/24/2002 7:58:10 PM PDT by DennisR
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To: DennisR
if

Let's see a little meat with your "if's".

41 posted on 04/24/2002 7:59:28 PM PDT by jlogajan
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To: PatrickHenry
There are dozens of very good books on the subject, written in layman's language by the very people who are doing this research. You'd be amazed to discover how much in agreement they all are.

That's what bothers me.
Because 20 years ago they all agreed that it was a different age.

42 posted on 04/24/2002 7:59:29 PM PDT by Politically Correct
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To: Politically Correct
Because 20 years ago they all agreed that it was a different age.

Are you smarter than you were 20 years ago?

43 posted on 04/24/2002 8:00:53 PM PDT by jlogajan
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To: longshadow
You are kidding, right? If not, just go to google.com, type in the following, and press [Google Search]. That should give you plenty of contradictory reading material.
44 posted on 04/24/2002 8:02:03 PM PDT by DennisR
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To: DennisR
You would thank that, given the utter and sheer brilliance of these "experts," that they would be able to get the age of the earth closer than to within 1,000,000,000 years.

Actually, the result being reported here measured it to within half a billion years, which is an error of about 4%. Considering that they are measuring something that happened about 13 billion years ago (give or take), 4% error is pretty darned good.

Seriously, are you going to disparage science until they can tell you the month, day, and hour of the Big Bang? How much accuracy do you demand, and why?

45 posted on 04/24/2002 8:02:57 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: Politically Correct
Because 20 years ago they all agreed that it was a different age.

They're always working with the data they have. When new data arrives, from new telescopes and better technology, what do you suggest they do? Supress the new information? They don't do that. They welcome the opportunity to revise their understanding, in the light of the best available information. Why do you find this objectionable?

46 posted on 04/24/2002 8:04:24 PM PDT by PatrickHenry
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
Before you can find proof of something, you have to work out theories so you have some idea what you're trying to prove. So what you're saying I'm in total agreement with. But the laws of physics are not necessarily absolute. There have been instances out there in space where what they thought, or expected to be ocurring was not.

They're going back 13 billion light years in time to see what happened then because that's how long it took for the light to reach us. But for all we know, as another poster said the universe goes on in infinity, there are probably galaxies a hundred trillion light years away, and farther. My point is, and it's a theory, fifteen billion years for the universe is like a second for us. It's been around a lot longer than that.

I'm sorry; you lost me.

47 posted on 04/24/2002 8:04:47 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: longshadow
I'm getting some strong hints that some of the posters here have the opinion that the universe is only 6,000 years old, which would explain their open hostility to the current findings of science.
48 posted on 04/24/2002 8:06:34 PM PDT by PatrickHenry
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To: DennisR
Yet another contradictory story about the age of the earth.

Perhaps you are communicating with the story on another astral plane, but it mentioned nothing about the age of the earth.

49 posted on 04/24/2002 8:08:47 PM PDT by jlogajan
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To: DennisR
.....especially if the "multiple independent methods" are all erroneous.

I eagerly await your post of the errors in the multiple independent methodologies. Please include the evidence to back up your assertion that they are erroneous.

Please also provide your analysis that explains how ALL the errors of the independent methodologies ALL produce virtually indentical results.

50 posted on 04/24/2002 8:08:50 PM PDT by longshadow
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