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White dwarfs confirm age of universe
Posted: Thu, Apr 25, 2002, 6:42 AM ET (1042 GMT)
White dwarf stars in M4 (STScI) A new study of white dwarf stars in a nearby cluster has provided an independent confirmation of the age of the universe. Astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope to observe faint white dwarfs in the cluster M4, about 7,000 light-years away. Astronomers measured the cooling rates of these stars and found that the oldest are about 13 billion years old, putting a strong lower limit on the age of the universe. Since globular clusters like M4 are believed to have formed within a billion years of the Big Bang, the results imply that the universe itself is 13-14 billion years old. These results confirm separate efforts to measure the age of the universe by observing distant galaxies to measure the universe's expansion rate: those studies also found the universe to be 13-14 billion years old.
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