Universe Guide

Methuselah Star

Methuselah Star Facts

  • Methuselah Star is a subdwarf star that can be located in the constellation of Libra. The description is based on the spectral class.
  • Methuselah Star is not part of the constellation outline but is within the borders of the constellation.
  • The star can not be seen by the naked eye, you need a telescope to see it.
  • Using the most recent figures given by the 2007 Hipparcos data, the star is 190.07 light years away from us. Distance

Information on Methuselah Star

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 cannibalised/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

Methuselah Star's Alternative Names

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 GJ 1195. The star was added to the Gliese catalogue in 1970 by Richard van der Riet Woolley hence the GJ prefix rather than GL prefix.Star Names.

BD number is the number that the star was filed under in the Durchmusterung or Bonner Durchmusterung, a star catalogue that was put together by the Bonn Observatory between 1859 to 1903. The star's BD Number is BD-10 4149.

More details on objects' alternative names can be found at Star Names .

Location of Methuselah Star

The location of the subdwarf star in the night sky 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 object is compared to the celestial equator and is expressed in degrees. For Methuselah Star, the location is 15h 43m 03.76 and -10° 55` 57.9 .

Radial Velocity and Proper Motion of Methuselah Star

Proper Motion

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 milliarcseconds/year towards the north and -1,114.93 ± 0.68 milliarcseconds/year east if we saw them in the horizon.

Radial Velocity

The Radial Velocity, that is the speed at which the star is moving away/towards the Sun is -171.12000 km/s with an error of about 0.29 km/s . When the value is negative then the star and the Sun are getting closer to one another, likewise, a positive number means that two stars are moving away. Its nothing to fear as the stars are so far apart, they won't collide in our life-time, if ever.

Physical Properties of Methuselah Star

Methuselah Star Temperature and Colour

Based on the star's spectral type of sdF3 The star has a B-V Colour Index of 0.48 which means the star's temperature is about 6,166 Kelvin. The temperature was calculated using information from Morgans @ Uni.edu.

Methuselah Star Luminosity

Luminosity is the amount of energy that a star pumps out and its relative to the amount that our star, the Sun gives out. The figure of 4.59 that I have given is based on the value in the Simbad Hipparcos Extended Catalogue at the University of Strasbourg from 2012.

Methuselah Star Radius

Methuselah Star estimated 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. If you need the diameter of the star, you just need to multiple the radius by 2. However with the 2007 release of updated Hipparcos files, the radius is now calculated at being round 1.7332582655747398736813111471. The figure is derived at by using the formula from SDSS rather than peer reviewed papers. It has been known to produce widely incorrect figures.

Methuselah Star Iron Abundance

Methuselah Star 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. The value comes from the Hipparcos Extended Catalog.

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 17.44000 which gave the calculated distance to Methuselah Star as 187.02 light years away from Earth or 57.34 parsecs. If you want that in miles, it is about 1,099,420,517,292,798.74, based on 1 Ly = 5,878,625,373,183.61 miles.

In 2007, Hipparcos data was revised with a new parallax of 17.16000 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.

Using the 2007 distance, the star is roughly 12,021,029.14 Astronomical Units from the Earth/Sun give or take a few. An Astronomical Unit is the distance between Earth and the Sun. The number of A.U. is the number of times that the star is from the Earth compared to the Sun. 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*.

Travel Time to Methuselah Star

The time it will take to travel to this star is dependent on how fast you are going. U.G. has done some calculations as to how long it will take going at differing speeds. A note about the calculations, when I'm talking about years, I'm talking non-leap years only (365 days).

The New Horizons space probe is the fastest probe that we've sent into space at the time of writing. Its primary mission was to visit Pluto which at the time of launch (2006), Pluto was still a planet.

DescriptionSpeed (m.p.h.)Time (years)
Airbus A380736173,184,922.11
Speed of Sound (Mach 1)767.269166,127,007.18
Concorde (Mach 2)1,534.5483,063,395.33
New Horizons Probe33,0003,862,548.57
Speed of Light670,616,629.00190.07

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.

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Additional Methuselah Star Facts and Figures

Visual Facts

Primary / Proper / Traditional NameMethuselah Star
Alternative NamesHD 140283, HIP 76976, BD-10 4149, Gliese 1195
Spectral TypesdF3
Constellation's Main StarNo
Multiple Star SystemNo / Unknown
Star TypeSubdwarf Star
GalaxyMilky Way
Absolute Magnitude 3.41 / 3.37
Visual / Apparent Magnitude7.20
Naked Eye VisibleRequires a 7x50 Binoculars - Magnitudes
Right Ascension (R.A.)15h 43m 03.76
Declination (Dec.)-10° 55` 57.9
Galactic Latitude33.61276385 degrees
Galactic Longitude356.31564922 degrees
1997 Distance from Earth17.44000 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 187.02 Light Years
 57.34 Parsecs
2007 Distance from Earth17.16000 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 190.07 Light Years
 58.28 Parsecs
 12,021,029.14 Astronomical Units
Galacto-Centric Distance23,979.53 Light Years / 7,352.00 Parsecs
Proper Motion Dec.-304.36000 ± 0.46000 milliarcseconds/year
Proper Motion RA.-1114.93000 ± 0.68000 milliarcseconds/year
B-V Index0.48
Radial Velocity-171.12000 ± 0.29 km/s
Iron Abundance-2.2700 ± 9.99 Fe/H
Semi-Major Axis2518.0000000
Stellar Luminosity (Lsun)4.5900000

Companions (Multi-Star and Exoplanets) Facts

Exoplanet CountNone/Unaware

Estimated Calculated Facts

Radius (x the Sun)1.73
Effective Temperature6,166 Kelvin

Sources and Links

SIMBAD SourceLink

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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