Research NewsCosmology

The Universe Shows Its Age

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Science  13 Feb 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5353, pp. 981-983
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5353.981

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Andrew Watson A cosmic embarrassment is fading. A few years ago, the oldest stars stubbornly appeared to be older than the universe as a whole. But improved theoretical models of stars and new, highly accurate data from the European Space Agency's Hipparcos star-mapping satellite have recently wiped billions of years off the ages of ancient star systems known as globular clusters, pushing them down to perhaps 12 billion years. And observations with the Hubble Space Telescope, together with new techniques for measuring cosmic distances, have nudged the universe's age upward, with some figures now approaching 12 billion years as well.