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Knowing a star’s intrinsic brightness is essential for estimating its age, to know its intrinsic brightness you must know its distance from Earth.

Compared to other relatively nearby stars HD 140283 is “metal-poor”, in astronomical jargon this means it is lacking in elements heavier than hydrogen and helium.

This may not seem particularly odd but is a vital clue in determining the star’s age.

The estimated age of 16 billion years had an uncertainty of two billion years from the inaccuracy of its measured distance alone, if any of the predicted details of the star’s interior processes were off this uncertainty could be larger still.

Astronomers revisited the matter of HD 140283’s age.

HD 140283 is starting to show its age, it is approaching the red giant phase of its existence.

The Anglo-Australian Observatory (AAO) UK Schmidt telescope photographed the star in blue light.Alternatively the chemical composition of stars should change at a known rate enabling their ages to be calculated by observing the relative proportions of the their constituent elements.However astronomers are refining their models of exactly how stars work all the time.The most recent estimates using both improved theories of stellar structure and more accurate distance data from the Hubble Space Telescope give (with an uncertainty of plus or minus 800 million years).This makes HD 140283 the oldest known star with a well-determined age.Get noticed for who you are, not what you look like.

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