Methuselah Star Is Older Than the Universe!

"A star that is "older than the universe" is baffling scientists, suggesting there might be something fundamentally wrong with the Big Bang theory.

Detailed measurements of the expansion rate of the universe, based on Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, place the Big Bang at around 13.8 billion years ago.

However, recent analysis of a star known as "Methuselah star" using the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope suggests that it is 14.5 billion years old - some 700 million years older than the universe.

The Methuselah star, code-named HD 140283, was first catalogued in 1912, and lies only 190 light years from Earth.

Analysis of the star has revealed that it contains very little iron, suggesting that it formed before the element became common in the universe.

Experts met at a conference in California in July, in an attempt to solve the mystery, but they remain stumped. One leading astronomer reportedly described it as a "scientific crisis".

The most likely explanation, according to British physicist Robert Matthews, is that something is wrong with our current estimate of the age of the universe.

This relies on accurate measurements of the distances between galaxies, and the speed at which they are moving away from one another.

Current methods of measuring the cosmic-expansion rate have proved unreliable in the past.

But while new methods are being developed - notably through analysis of gravitational waves - they are not yet advanced enough to resolve the paradox of Methuselah star.


Another possible explanation for the discrepancy could be to do with "dark energy" – the mysterious force that acts as a counter to gravity.

Astronomers already think dark energy played a critical role in the Big Bang, but they have no idea where it came from.

Roberts believes that whoever manages to solve the problem could spark a "scientific revolution".

"It's a riddle of cosmic proportions: How can the universe contain stars older than itself?" Roberts wrote in an article for UAE-based media outlet The National.

"That's the conundrum now facing astronomers trying to establish the age of the universe."