“The older you get, the more you realize that the way you look is a reflection of how you treat yourself.” -Hope Davis
Age may be just a number, but in cosmic terms, there are some rules it’s pretty important to obey. It should be impossible to have a complex creature that’s older than the planets; a rocky planet that predates the stars; or a star that’s older than the Universe itself. With a figure of 13.8 billion years, we’ve arrived at an incredibly accurate estimate for the age of the Universe since the Big Bang from a slew of different sources, and so nothing should be older than that.
When we survey the stars in the Milky Way, however, we find not only many that are older than 12 billion years, but a few that may predate the galaxy itself, hailing from just 300 million years after the Big Bang. In one alarming find, though, there’s a particular star, HD 140283, that appears to be 14.5 billion years old. A star older than the Universe itself is impossible, of course, but there’s got to be a reason for this discrepancy.