nuclear cosmochronometry

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nuclear cosmochronometry

Postby hyksos on September 16th, 2017, 7:57 am 

Nuclear Cosmochronometry is a method of measuring the ages of stars from the abundances of radioactive elements they contain. It is one of the principle methods used in physical cosmology to estimate the age of the universe, along with others, such as white dwarf clocks.

Europium (153Eu) and Thorium (232Th) are the key elements targeted in the astrophysics experiments, and together make up the so-called radiometric methods for aging the universe.

Europium 153 is an extremely stable rare earth. Thorium 232 is the radioactive metal whose half-life gives the countdown clock on very old stars. Thorium will later decay through several stages down to lead. Its half-life is 14 billion years. Thorium is popular for other reasons, namely it can be ramped up to Uranium through neutron capture.

(interestingly) Wikipedia does not contain an article on Nuclear Cosmochronometry. The best I could find there was "Nucleocosmochronology" Nevertheless, the former word returns significantly more hits into journals than the -ology variant.

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