Free Republic Browse · Search News/Activism Topics · Post Article

If we can detect stars that are 100 billion light years away (assuming they're out there), that would mean the universe is at least 100 billion years old, since that's how long it would have taken for the light to reach us no?? Aren't they measuring the farthest white dwarf they can find to determine the age?
201 posted on 04/25/2002 6:00:08 PM PDT by Reaganwuzthebest

To: Reaganwuzthebest
If we can detect stars that are 100 billion light years away (assuming they're out there), that would mean the universe is at least 100 billion years old, since that's how long it would have taken for the light to reach us no??

Yes, but what YOU said was "what if there were objects 100 billion light years away that we CAN'T see" (or words to that effect).

The point being that we now have imaging capability to detect objects further away than we currently see them, and they aren't there! Which is exactly what on would expect if our estimates of the age of the Universe are correct.

If there were objects 100 billion light years away that we can't detect, it doesn't mean the Universe has to be 100 billion years old. The inflationary phase of the Big Bang inflates spacetime at superluminal speeds, and objects embedded therein are carried along for the ride (this is not a violation of Special Relativity).

Aren't they measuring the farthest white dwarf they can find to determine the age?

No.

They are looking to find the faintest (and hence coolest) white dwarf, not the most distant one. The age is determined by how much the white dwarf has cooled off. All things being equal, coolest white dwarf is the OLDEST white dwarf, and once you identify it and calculate its age, you establish a lower bound for the age of the Universe.

204 posted on 04/25/2002 6:15:18 PM PDT by longshadow

To: Reaganwuzthebest
I'll answer my own question - they're measuring the faintest white dwarfs only 7000 light years away. For all we know, there are older dwarfs that are fainter, or completely undetectable. But they do leave themselves some room to revise their conclusions should that be discovered.
205 posted on 04/25/2002 6:18:15 PM PDT by Reaganwuzthebest

 Free Republic Browse · Search News/Activism Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794