Dating on the earth relationship phases dating

In the Western world, the key to the age of the Earth was long assumed to be the Bible and its account of creation. Acting over many millions of years, they could explain the geological record without recourse to the great flood of Noah.

Lord Kelvin calculated that the Sun could only have sustained its current luminosity for about 20–40 million years. It remained a puzzle until the discovery of nuclear fusion, the Sun’s actual energy source, in the 1930s.

It was also astrophysics that finally provided a method for dating the Earth itself.

More generally, uniformitarianism holds that the physical laws and processes we see today are the key to understanding the past.

This is the idea that, today, enables scientists (including many past and present Members of the Institute) to understand the afterglow of the Big Bang and to see the universe as it was 380,000 years after it formed.

The Sun must be shrinking for this explanation to work.

Turn the clock backwards, and at some point, the Sun must have extended past Earth’s orbit.

The ­solution lay in space, where asteroids have remained essentially unchanged since the formation of the solar system.

In 1953, Clair Cameron Patterson measured the abundances of three isotopes of lead in meteorites and calculated that the Earth must be about 4.6 billion years old.

Stars change little over billions of years: the Sun would have looked much the same to the dinosaurs as it does to us. As the Sun’s core converts hydrogen into the heavier element helium, its temperature increases to maintain the pressure needed to balance the crushing force of gravity.

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