Astronomers determine age of stars based on how fast it is spinning

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According to a new research published in Nature age of stars can be determined by measuring how fast they are spinning. This will also help astronomers determine different phenomena involving stars and other objects and how they happen over time.

The research shows relationship between spin, mass and age of stars. If scientists know how big a star is and how fast it is spinning, they will be able to determine the age of the star using the relationship.

“Now we can derive precise ages for large numbers of cool field stars in our Galaxy by measuring their spin periods,” states Soren Meibom of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA).

“This is an important new tool for astronomers studying the evolution of stars and their companions, and one that can help identify planets old enough for complex life to have evolved.”

So how do scientists measure the spin? Well they look for changes in their brightness caused by dark spots on surface of the stars. Astronomers can’t see directly across a star so to determine the spin, they watch out for when those spots appear and then disappear.

Stars slow down over time like a spinning top on a table, and researchers can use this to indicate how long the star has been around for. Faster the spin, younger the star. The spin also depends on the stars mass, and bigger, heavier stars tend to spin faster than smaller ones.

The discovery allows astronomers to estimate the age of stars to within 10 per cent. The researchers have observed stars weighing 80 per cent to 140 per cent of our sun and measured the spins of 30 stars.