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Globular Cluster 47 Tucanae is thought to contain some of the oldest known stars.
Credit: ESO/VLT


How Old Are The Stars?
Jan 13, 2009

A new technique for dating the evolution of stars depends on knowing the age of our own Sun.

Why do stars form where they do? What are the conditions that cause them to come into existence and what makes them age? These are some of the fundamental questions asked by astronomers as they attempt to understand the universe, its history and its fate. If the stars are born and die according to certain measurable factors, then analyzing those factors might help to design a "clock" that can be used to establish the age of any star.

Currently, according to scientists, we can accurately determine the age of our own Sun and no other star, because we can study it in great detail and ‘stardust’ from within the solar system can be brought to Earth and analyzed. As consensus viewpoints state, that makes the Sun’s age a fundamental model to calibrate readings from other stars and determine their ages.

Recently, NASA announced the Kepler Mission, built to explore extrasolar planetary systems with a Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) science package. One result that astronomers hope to gain from Kepler is ultraprecise brightness measurements of nearby solar-type stars that will enable an analysis of lowest-order stellar oscillations. This technique is known as "asteroseismology," the name derived from "helioseismology," or the study of wave propagation inside the Sun. Analysis of the oscillations are expected to reveal the state of the core of a star, which is the part that is thought to change most in structure as the star ages by fusing hydrogen into helium. By combining this information with other data like mass and chemical composition, it is thought possible to say how old the star is.

However, there is a problem. Present understanding of stellar aging relies on studying globular clusters of thousands of stars in the Milky Way. It was accepted that such stars were formed together and share the same composition and age. But the Hubble Space Telescope has shown that the stars have multiple populations of stars with different compositions.

Again, as the Electric Universe model points out, astronomers are taking a model of the Sun that has difficulty in explaining some of the most obvious features of the Sun and applying it to other stars. As the Electric Star hypothesis reveals: "there is no reason to attribute youth to one spectral type over another. We conclude that a star's location on the HR diagram only depends on its size and the electric current density it is presently experiencing...its age remains indeterminate regardless of its mass or spectral type. This is disquieting in the sense that we are now confronted by the knowledge that our own Sun's future is not as certain as is predicted by mainstream astronomy. We cannot know whether the Birkeland current presently powering our Sun will increase or decrease, nor how long it will be before it does so." We do not know the age of our own Sun!

A report in Science (2 Jan 2009) sums up, “Overall, the situation for determining stellar ages is still sobering, and progress has been slow. It has reached the point where cosmologists claim better precision for their measurements than we can for the ages of the nearest and brightest stars. The challenge of determining an accurate age for a star therefore remains outstanding.”

Helioseismology has thrown up its own set of unresolved problems too. In fact, the origin of the oscillations remains unclear. As one astrophysicist remarked, “..the flute does not produce music unless one blows in it, so to speak. Therefore one is led to the question: who is blowing the pipe?” The answer is simple for an Electric Sun: The bright photosphere is a plasma discharge phenomenon subject to electrical pulsations and changes in size (another major puzzle for the standard model of the Sun). If this is true then helioseismology applied to the standard model of the interior of the Sun is worthless. And more conundrums for researchers are confidently predicted when asteroseismology data is returned by the Kepler Mission.

By Wal Thornhill


SPECIAL NOTE - **New Volumes Available:
We are pleased to announce a new e-book series THE UNIVERSE ELECTRIC. Available now, the first volume of this series, titled Big Bang, summarizes the failure of modern cosmology and offers a new electrical perspective on the cosmos. At over 200 pages, and designed for broadest public appeal, it combines spectacular full-color graphics with lean and readily understandable text.

**Then second and third volumes in the series are now available, respectively titled Sun and Comet, they offer the reader easy to understand explanations of how and why these bodies exist within an Electric Universe.

High school and college students--and teachers in numerous fields--will love these books. So will a large audience of general readers.

Visitors to the site have often wondered whether they could fully appreciate the Electric Universe without further formal education. The answer is given by these exquisitely designed books. Readers from virtually all backgrounds and education levels will find them easy to comprehend, from start to finish.

For the Thunderbolts Project, this series is a milestone. Please see for yourself by checking out the new Thunderbolts Project website, our leading edge in reaching new markets globally.

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  Follow the stunning success of the Electric Universe in predicting the 'surprises' of the space age.  
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Authors David Talbott and Wallace Thornhill introduce the reader to an age of planetary instability and earthshaking electrical events in ancient times. If their hypothesis is correct, it could not fail to alter many paths of scientific investigation.
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Professor of engineering Donald Scott systematically unravels the myths of the "Big Bang" cosmology, and he does so without resorting to black holes, dark matter, dark energy, neutron stars, magnetic "reconnection", or any other fictions needed to prop up a failed theory.
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In language designed for scientists and non-scientists alike, authors Wallace Thornhill and David Talbott show that even the greatest surprises of the space age are predictable patterns in an electric universe.
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EXECUTIVE EDITORS: David Talbott, Wallace Thornhill
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Mel Acheson, Michael Armstrong,
Dwardu Cardona, Ev Cochrane, C.J. Ransom,
Don Scott, Rens van der Sluijs,
Ian Tresman, Tom Wilson
WEBMASTER: Brian Talbott
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