During the flight, Resident Astronomer Peggy caught me in a pensive mood while studying an Astrophysics text. The paper was laying out some of the observational evidence used to establish the age of the universe.
|While on the to way to view the 2019r eclipse, the Resident Astronomer ponders cosmology (Source: Palmia Observatory)|
The particular text in question is shown below. You can follow along in the main text, “Introduction to the theory of the early universe” by Rubakov and Gorbunov. My question, not about the given age of the universe, but was how the cooling rate of white dwarfs could be used for this purpose. My initial though was the dimness also depended on the distance to the white dwarfs. How was the distance to all of the white dwarfs used in the study known? So, I looked up the referenced paper and found the answer. The white dwarfs were all in M4 Globular Cluster, which is about 7200 lightyears away and is about 70 lightyears in diameter, so the distances are all pretty much the same, give or take a couple of dozen light years. Pretty close for astronomical work!
|Sharp drop off of numbers of white dwarfs indicates maximum age of universe (Source: Rubakov & Gorbunkov, "Intro to Theory of the Early Universe:|
So my worried moment ended and we were flying southward along the coast of Chile. Low mountains and the ocean was on one side of our plane and on the other side were the snow capped Andes.
|Aircraft map program in the seat shows location of snow capped Andes along length of Chile|
|Looking out the airplane window towards the coast of Chile|
|Looking out the airplane window towards the Andes side of Chile on flight south to Santiago|
|Orange County Astronomers meetup in Santiago, Chile for the eclipse and Pisco Sours (Source: Palmia Observatory)|