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Name: Bob
Status: educator
Grade: 9-12
Location: GA
Country: USA
Date: Fall 2011


Question:
How does one measure how old the sun is?


Replies:
Bob,

Estimating the age of the Sun requires that we understand the progression/development of a star. From Nuclear Chemistry/Physics, we know the fusion process that a star undergoes, so knowing the ratio of H/He, etc (as obtained from a spectral analysis) tells us how long a particular star has been going through the fusion process. The mass of the Sun (taken from the orbits of the planets) gives us the type of star and tells us what is its expected history (how much gas was collected in its formation, what possible fusion mechanisms it can undergo, what stages there are in its lifetime). Putting all these together gives us a good estimate.

Greg (Roberto Gregorius) Canisius College



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