Sunday, May 13, 2007

Star Dates Back Almost to Creation - UPDATED

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." What are the "heavens"? What does that mean? In my opinion, the most natural interpretation of that term is that it is referring to the stars, glaxies and planets (one of which was the earth).

Scientists are giving us a glimpse back almost to the moment of creation:
Astronomers date star's birth back to nearly the dawn of time
May 12 04:19 PM US/Eastern

Astronomers have used a unique process to determine that a star in our galaxy is nearly as old as the universe itself.

The star is 13.2 billion years old, while the universe dates back 13.7 billion years, according to the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO)...

"This requires measuring very precisely the abundance of the radioactive elements thorium or uranium, a feat only the largest telescopes such as ESO's VLT can achieve," she said.

The organisation said "this star very clearly formed very early in the life of our own galaxy," which is believed to itself have formed soon after the Big Bang. The star's name is HE 1523-0901.

The group's research was published in the May 10 issue of Astrophysical Journal.

Here is the write up about this discovery from Reasons To Believe: "Birth Date of Old Star Confirms Universe’s Age," by Jeff Zweerink

Of course, young-earth creationists would respond to this discovery by saying radiometric dating methods cannot be trusted. But believing this requires suspending the "straightforward" interpretation of multiple, independant lines of evidence from the record of nature. God made a universe that looks old because it is old.

"Radiometric Dating: A Christian Perspective," by Roger Wiens

Ideas for how to use this story in school:
- Social Studies/Writing: Current event
- Bible: Study on stars in the Bible
- Science: How starlight travel is measured and why it's a reliable measure for the age of the universe
- Science: How uranium/thorium radiometric dating works and why it's reliable

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