CfA Colloquium Schedule Spring 2014
 20 February 2014

20 February 2014

Speaker: David Soderblom (STScI and Johns Hopkins)

Title: Stars of an Uncertain Age: The Problem of Determining Stellar Ages

Abstract: Some day soon we can hope to hear an announcement of the signs of life on a planet around another star, and when that happens our first question will be "How old is that star?" because we will want to place such a discovery in an evolutionary context. But stars do not reveal their ages to us in any direct way and we are left trying to use secondary indicators such as rotation or activity. Asteroseismology is offering a real breakthrough in determining stellar ages, particularly for older solar-type stars, and the oscillations detected by Kepler have been especially critical because of their quality and number. In this talk I will discuss some of the problems that demand good stellar ages (many Galactic) and present a framework for understanding the problem of stellar age estimation, the limitations encountered with conventional (pre-Kepler) methods, how asteroseismology provides constraints on key physical parameters of stars, and the limitations that still exist in the problem of determining stellar ages.


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