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Astron. Astrophys. 343, 990-996 (1999)

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Helioseismology and the solar age

W.A. Dziembowski 1,2, G. Fiorentini 3,4, B. Ricci 3,4 and R. Sienkiewicz 2

1 Warsaw University Observatory, Al. Ujazdowskie 4, PL-00-478 Warszawa, Poland
2 N. Copernicus Astronomical Center, Polish Academy of Sciences, Bartycka 18, PL-00-716 Warszawa, Poland
3 Dipartimento di Fisica dell'Università di Ferrara, via Paradiso 12, I-44100 Ferrara, Italy
4 Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Sezione di Ferrara, via Paradiso 12, I-44100 Ferrara, Italy

Received 5 October 1998 / Accepted 21 December 1998


The problem of measuring the solar age by means of helioseismology has been recently revisited by Guenther & Demarque (1997) and by Weiss & Schlattl (1998). Different best values for [FORMULA] and different assessment of the uncertainty resulted from these two works. We show that depending on the way seismic data are used, one may obtain [FORMULA] Gy close to the age of the oldest meteorites, [FORMULA] Gy, like in the first paper, or above 5 Gy like in the second paper. The discrepancy in the seismic estimates of the solar age may be eliminated by assuming higher than the standard metal abundance and/or an upward revision of the opacities in the solar radiative interior.

We argue that the most accurate and robust seismic measure of the solar age are the small frequency separations, [FORMULA], for spherical harmonic degrees [FORMULA] and radial orders [FORMULA]. The seismic age inferred by minimization of the sum of squared differences between the model and the solar small separations is [FORMULA] Gy, a number consistent with meteoritic data. Our analysis supports earlier suggestions of using small frequency separations as stellar age indicators.

Key words: Sun: abundances – Sun: evolution – Sun: interior – Sun: oscillations

Send offprint requests to: W.A. Dziembowski

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: March 1, 1999