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Methuselah Star - HD140283 - HIP76976

Methuselah Star is a subdwarf star that can be located in the constellation of Libra. The star can not be seen by the naked eye, you need a telescope to see it.

HIP76976 is the reference name for the star in the Hipparcos Star Catalogue. The Id of the star in the Henry Draper catalogue is HD140283. The Gliese ID of the star is Gliese GJ1195. The star was added to the Gliese catalogue in 1970 by Richard van der Riet Woolley hence the GJ rather than GL prefix. Ref : Star Names.

Methuselah star is one of the more intriguing stars in our galaxy, the milky way and can be located in the constellation Libra. What makes this most interesting is that it has been calculated to be older than than the age of the universe. The generally accepted view of the universe`s age is that it is about 13.7/8 billion years old. N.A.S.A had calculated the star to be around 14.5 billion years of age. However, previous estimates had put the star at being 16 billion years old, still much older than the star of the universe.

It is believed to have been born in another Galaxy which was cannabalised/merged with our own galaxy. It is also moving at a phenomenal speed, 800,000 miles which lends weight to the fact it came from another galaxy. It will take 1,500 years to move across an area of the night sky the width of the moon. The picture below shows the rough location of the star within the constellation. If you look at the star,it will appear as a red giant in its early stages.Ref: Space

Methuselah gets its name from the biblical character Methuselah who according to the bible lived for 969 years according to Genesis. It seemed appropriate to reference the character when they needed a name for the star. Ref: ThoughtCo

Location of Methuselah Star

The location of the star in the galaxy is determined by the Right Ascension (R.A.) and Declination (Dec.), these are equivalent to the Longitude and Latitude on the Earth. The Right Ascension is how far expressed in time (hh:mm:ss) the star is along the celestial equator. If the R.A. is positive then its eastwards. The Declination is how far north or south the star is compared to the celestial equator and is expressed in degrees. For Methuselah Star, the location is 15h 43m 03.76 and -10d55`57.9 .

Proper Motion of Methuselah Star

All stars like planets orbit round a central spot, in the case of planets, its the central star such as the Sun. In the case of a star, its the galactic centre. The constellations that we see today will be different than they were 50,000 years ago or 50,000 years from now. Proper Motion details the movements of these stars and are measured in milliarcseconds. The star is moving -304.36 ± 0.46 miliarcseconds/year towards the north and -1,114.93 ± 0.68 miliarcseconds/year east if we saw them in the horizon.

Physical Properties (Temperature, Radius) of Methuselah Star

Methuselah Star has a spectral type of sdF3. This means the star is a subdwarf star. The star is 7352.00000000 Parsecs from the Galactic Centre or terms of Light Years is 23979.5290508800000000s. The star has a B-V Colour Index of 0.48 which means the star's temperature has been calculated using information from Morgans @ Uni.edu at being 6,166 Kelvin.

Methuselah Star Radius has been calculated as being 1.70 times bigger than the Sun.The Sun's radius is 695,800km, therefore the star's radius is an estimated 1,183,988.03.km. However with the 2007 release of updated Hipparcos files, the radius is now calculated at being round 1.73. The figure is derived at by using the formula from SDSS and has been known to produce widely incorrect figures. The star's Iron Abundance is -2.27 with an error value of 9.99 Fe/H with the Sun has a value of 1 to put it into context.

Methuselah Star Apparent and Absolute Magnitudes

Methuselah Star has an apparent magnitude of 7.20 which is how bright we see the star from Earth. Apparent Magnitude is also known as Visual Magnitude. If you used the 1997 Parallax value, you would get an absolute magnitude of 3.41 If you used the 2007 Parallax value, you would get an absolute magnitude of 3.37. Magnitude, whether it be apparent/visual or absolute magnitude is measured by a number, the smaller the number, the brighter the Star is. Our own Sun is the brightest star and therefore has the lowest of all magnitudes, -26.74. A faint star will have a high number.

Distance to Methuselah Star

Using the original Hipparcos data that was released in 1997, the parallax to the star was given as 17.44 which gave the calculated distance to Methuselah Star as 187.02 light years away from Earth or 57.34 parsecs. It would take a spaceship travelling at the speed of light, 187.02 years to get there. We don't have the technology or spaceship that can carry people over that distance yet.

In 2007, Hipparcos data was revised with a new parallax of 17.16 which put Methuselah Star at a distance of 190.07 light years or 58.28 parsecs. It should not be taken as though the star is moving closer or further away from us. It is purely that the distance was recalculated.

The star's Galacto-Centric Distance is 7,352.00 Parsecs or 23,979.53 Light Years. The Galacto-Centric Distance is the distance from the star to the Centre of the Galaxy which is Sagittarius A*.

Source of Information

The source of the information if it has a Hip I.D. is from Simbad, the Hipparcos data library based at the University at Strasbourg, France. Hipparcos was a E.S.A. satellite operation launched in 1989 for four years. The items in red are values that I've calculated so they could well be wrong. Information regarding Metallicity and/or Mass is from the E.U. Exoplanets. The information was obtained as of 12th Feb 2017.

Methuselah Star Facts

Alternative Names

Traditional/Proper NameMethuselah Star
Hipparcos Library I.D.76976
Bonner DurchmusterungBDD-10 4149
Gliese ID1195
Henry Draper Designation140283

Visual Facts

Star Typesubdwarf star
Absolute Magnitude3.41 / 3.37
Visual / Apparent Magnitude7.20
Naked Eye VisibleRequires a 7x50 Binoculars - Ref: Wiki
Right Ascension (R.A.)15h 43m 03.76
Declination (Dec.)-10d55`57.9
Galactic Latitude33.61 degrees
Galactic Longitude356.32 degrees
1997 Distance from Earth17.44 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 187.02 Light Years
 57.34 Parsecs
2007 Revised Distance from Earth17.16 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 190.07 Light Years
 58.28 Parsecs
Galacto-Centric Distance23,979.53 Light Years / 7,352.00 Parsecs
Proper Motion Dec.-304.36 ± 0.46 milliarcseconds/year
Proper Motion RA.-1114.93 ± 0.68 milliarcseconds/year
B-V Index0.48
Radial Velocity-171.12 ± 0.29 km/s
Iron Abundance-2.27 ± 9.99 Fe/H
Spectral TypesdF3

Estimated Facts

Calculated Effective Temperature6,166 Kelvin

Sources and Links

SIMBAD SourceLink

Related Stars

Location of Methuselah Star in Libra


Methuselah Star Location in Libra

The map was generated using Night Vision, an awesome free application by Brian Simpson.


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