is located in the Galactic halo approximately 2500 light years from earth and was formed very early in the history of our Galaxy. The observations were made using the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and both the Keck and H. J. Smith ground-based telescopes. The 10 meter Keck telescope is one of the largest telescopes in the world.
1. In the first image (in .pdf format) we show our detection of gold in this star, the first detection in any such halo stars. This can be thought of as the ``first gold in the Galaxy.'' Since the dominant wavelengths for the atomic transitions for this element are in the ultraviolet, mostly blocked by our atmosphere, space observations using the Hubble Space Telescope were necessary for this discovery.
2. In the second image we show silver lines in this same star. This element can be observed at the ground-level. The observations were made using the Keck telescope.
3. Platinum lines detected using HST.
HST OBSERVATIONS OF PLATINUM LINES IN BD + 17 3248 --caption for the platinum lines (pdf format)
Abundance observations of all of the elements in this star
including Gold (Au), Platinum (Pt), Silver (Ag), and
the radioactive elements Thorium (Th) and Uranium (U).
Employing the abundance of the radioactive elements, observed in
BD + 17 3248, in comparison with each other and other stable elements,
we have determined the ``radioactive-decay age'' of this star.
Our analyses and calculations indicate an approximate age for this star of 14 +/- 4 Billion years old, making this one of the oldest stars in our Galaxy.
This research was supported by the NSF, NASA-STScI grant no. GO-08432, the DOE and the German BMBF.
Last Updated 1/4/02