SciCafe: Measuring the Ages of Ancient Worlds

Part of SciCafe

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

The gently curved horizon of Earth emits a faint glow, with a dense blanket of stars in view above it. This long-exposure photograph taken from the International Space Station reveals a colorful atmospheric glow crowning Earth's horizon, back-dropped by the dazzling Milky Way.
Courtesy of NASA
Measuring the ages of stars is one of the greatest challenges of modern astronomy.

In this SciCafe, join Museum Curator Ruth Angus as she describes how she uses the rotation rates of stars to measure their ages and gather insights into the future of our solar system and others in the galaxy. 

Find out why determining the ages of stars will offer scientists a better chance of finding life signs in the atmospheres of distant planets—since some planets orbit stars that are extremely volatile, constantly erupting with powerful magnetic explosions that emit harmful radiation, while others orbit older stars, like our own Sun, which tend to be more tranquil, and more hospitable to life. 

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