In a major advancement in the field of celestial studies, the researchers have discovered a very neat method to calculate the age of stars, especially cool stars, like the Sun, having low masses.
The determination of the age of stars, mainly those having low masses, has always been a very challenging task for the scientists.
The new study has showed that we can get crucial information about the age of the stars by just measuring the spins of these very long-lived celestial objects.
Lead study author Soren Meibom said, “Let’s imagine that we’re born as small babies, but by our first birthday, we look like an adult, and we stay looking the same through our 20s and 40s and 60s, even 80s, until we suddenly appear old.”
Meibom made the statement during a press briefing at the meeting of American Astronomical Society in Seattle.
Study of stars has always remained a daunting challenge for the astronomers. Most of these celestial bodies are so old that they reside in most remote and oldest parts of the universe. Moreover, the small cool stars remain nearly the same size as well as emit roughly constant amount of light throughout their lifetimes. Scientists say this constancy makes their study more difficult.
The correlation between stars’ age, mass and spin speed have been known to the scientists for long. But it is only recently that they have actually applied the technique of measuring brightness fluctuations along with their spin to determine their age.
The researchers found that older stars spin more slowly than their younger counterparts. Moreover, the older stars also possess smaller dark spots compared to younger ones. Also, the measurement of brightness over time revealed that the emissions “flickered” more vividly from younger stars than their aged counterparts.
The findings on ‘how a star’s spin betrays its age’ were published online in the journal Nature.