Artist's Impression of the oldest star in our galaxy
| Observation data|
Epoch J2000 Equinox J2000
|Right ascension||15h 26m 01.2s |
|Declination||−9° 11′ 38″ |
|Apparent magnitude (V)||11.1 |
|Distance||~7500  ly |
(~2,300  pc)
HE 1523-0901 is the designation given to a red giant star in the Milky Way galaxy approximately 7500 light years from Earth. It is thought to be a second generation Population II, or metal-poor, star ([Fe/H] = −2.95). The star was found in the sample of bright metal-poor halo stars from the Hamburg/ESO Survey by Anna Frebel and collaborators. The group's research was published in the May 10 2007 issue of The Astrophysical Journal.
The star's age, as measured by ESO's Very Large Telescope, is 13.2 billion years. This makes it the oldest object yet discovered in the galaxy, and nearly as old as the estimated age of the universe itself (13.8 billion years as measured by Planck). HE 1523-0901 is the first star whose age was determined using the decay of the radioactive elements uranium and thorium in tandem with measurements of several neutron capture elements. It is believed to have formed directly from the remnants of the first-generation stars that reached the end of their longevity and exploded as supernovae early in the history of known matter.
The designation "HE 1523-0901" indicates that the star is part of the Hamburg/ESO Survey catalog. A list of astronomical catalogues can be used to find which catalog a star or other object is from based on its prefix. Most objects are listed in several catalogs and will often be known by several different designations.
HE 1523-0901 is approximately 0.8 Solar masses. It can be viewed particularly well from the southern hemisphere with the use of a small telescope. It can also be observed from central European latitudes.
- ESO press release
- McDonald Observatory / UT press release
- Hamburg/ESO Survey Homepage
- Astronomy magazine
- CCD image based on 2-hrs total exposure
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