August 23, 2010
From precise radioactive dating methods, the oldest things we can find in the solar system are primitive stony meteorites. They date to 4.6 billion years.
As they mature and use up their fuel supplies, stars change both their internal and external structures. Theory then suggests how old they are. Stellar vibrations, which allow astronomers to examine stellar interiors, work as well.
Globular clusters typically contain a galaxy's oldest objects. By finding the ages of those stars, astronomers can pinpoint the galaxy's age. Astronomers estimate the stars in M15, pictured here, are about 12 billion years old.
Photo by NASA/The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
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