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Astrophysics first had something to add to the question of ages with the discovery of thermodynamics in the late 1800s.
The gradual contraction of the Sun due to gravity could be a source of energy, replenishing the energy radiated away by sunshine.
If you want to go even further back, you can look at cave deposits, and the fancy word for these cave deposits are speleothems. But the reason why these are useful is these are formed by calcium carbonate, so they have carbon in them, and slowly over, really, tens of thousands of years, the water in the cave deposits that calcium carbonate.
If we want to understand where we've come from, the stories that have led us to our present condition, if we want to understand our history, one of the prerequisites is to have a good sense of chronometry. And we take many, many things for granted these days.
So I said maybe it's 5,730 years since this bone was part of a living animal, or it's roughly that old.
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In the last video, we talked about the idea that if I dug up a bone someplace, if I dug up a bone, and if I were to measure its carbon-14, and I found that it had half of the carbon-14 that I would expect to find in a living animal or plant, that I said, hey, maybe one half life has gone by, or roughly for carbon-14, one half life is 5,730 years.
And so you can look back to that layer of bark just for the half life of carbon-14, and then figure out how much carbon-14 was there in the atmosphere at that period in time. Those are those speleothems that are kind of coming out of the bottom of the cave, or stalactites.
And so it's kind of a record of the atmosphere up to 10,000 years. Those are the speleothems that are coming from the top of the cave.