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What is the Oldest Star in the Universe?

Methuselah Star

Location of Methuselah Star in Libra

Dating a star can be difficult, we can only have the best guess as to how old they are based on observations and calculations. That said, the star that has the title of being the oldest star in the universe that we currently know about is Methuselah Star in the constellation of Libra, the scales.

Methuselah Star is named after the character from the Bible of the same name. In Genesis (5:27) , the first book, the character was said to have lived to be 969 years old and then he died. Biblia.

We will never know what is the oldest star in the Universe but at the moment, it has the dual title of being the oldest star we know of in both the Milky Way and the Universe . We will never know because there are too many stars and each one would have to be studied individually to calculate. Given the number of galaxies and stars, it will be extremely time consuming, there is not enough time in a persons lifetime to do the work nor do we have the computing power. We also can't observe every star in every galaxy because some stars and galaxies are too faint to study.

All the first stars in the universe are believed to have been quasi-stars and all of them have now gone if they even existed. No ones seen a quasi-star, they are theory. Some of the quasi-stars are believed to have formed the Supermassive Black Holes in the centre of galaxies. Quasi-stars didn't live long, with stars, shine bright, die young.

The exact age of Methuselah is unknown but one study by N.A.S.A. put it at around 14.5 billion years old with an error of about 800 million years. As everyone knows, that would make the star older than the Universe. The current age of the universe is currently put at 13.8 billion years old. That would mean that one is wrong and its more likely the star. It's a lot more recent than other estimates have been at 16 billion years old.

HD 122563

Location of HD 122563 in the constellation of Bootes

Most of the oldest stars out there in the milky way are to faint to be seen on Earth without the aid of a telescope. Methuselah would need a 7x50 telescope or binoculars to see because it is too faint.

The oldest star that we can see when we look up is the boringly name HD 122563 in the constellation of Bootes

To put things in context, our Sun , the nearest star to us is a mere 5 billion years old, it quite young compared to other stars. For more information on, check out the dedicated page on Oldest and Earliest Stars page.

Images

The top picture was drawn using Night Vision, a free application that I've used elsewhere on this site.

The maps was generated using the free application Cartes du Ciel, its a free application and although the name is French, the application has English menus and controls.


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