- The Chicago Astronomer -
Copyright 2004-2014 All rights reserved by Joseph Guzman Administrator/Founder/Chief Astronomer.
All text and images are the property of the original authors/artists and shall
not be used without permission.
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Dec 1, 2005 21:47:27 GMT -6
Astronomers Find Most Stable Optical Clock In Heavens
Fort Davis TX (SPX) Dec 02, 2005 After 31 years of tracking the light- output of a burnt-out star from telescopes at McDonald Observatory, astronomer S.O. Kepler of Brazil's Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul and a slew of University of Texas colleagues have found the most stable optical clock in the heavens.
The finding has implications for theories of how stars live and die, and places limits on where planets can exist around this white dwarf.
Their results are being published in today's edition of The Astrophysical Journal in what is being called a "landmark paper" by one of that journal's editors.
The star in question is a 400 million-year-old white dwarf called G117-B15A, located in Leo Minor. Its pulses of light are so regular that it loses one second in 8.9 million years. This makes the pulses of G117 more accurate and much more stable than the ticks of an atomic clock, Kepler said.