Astronomers Discover One of the Oldest Stars in History

James Marshall
August 8, 2019

Dubbed SMSS J160540.18-144323.1, the star is situated around 35,000 light-years away from the Milky Way.

This analogy suggests that it could be the second generation of stars after the universe was born.

"The good news is that we can study the first stars through their children - the stars that came after them, like the one we've discovered", study co-author Martin Asplund said in the statement.

"We think the supernova energy of the ancestral star was so low that most of the heavier elements fell back into a very dense remnant created by the explosion", Nordlander said. The first stars had been made up primarily of hydrogen and helium and were regarded as very large, extremely popular, and quick-lived. Astronomers confirmed the discovery of the star in a paper published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters.

The star is believed to have emerged about 13.8 billion years ago.

But we have discovered different stars within the Milky Manner which have a low metallicity, indicating an early Universe origin. This is one of the major evidence of the star being from the initial days of the universe.

"This incredibly anaemic star, which likely formed just a few hundred million years after the Big Bang, has iron levels 1.5 million times lower than that of the Sun", Astronomer Thomas Nordlander of the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions and the Australian National University elaborated on the newly found ancient star. Dr. Nordlander collaborated with his other colleagues from Australia, the United States and Europe, and located the star using a dedicated SkyMapper Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory in NSW. These early stars which are called Population III are said to have not been discovered before.

The researchers believe that the star that gave SMSS J160540.18-144323.1 its iron was relatively low mass for the early Universe, only around 10 times the mass of the Sun.

Population III stars used to have a short lifespan, and because of that, it's most likely that they won't survive long enough for humans to study them thoroughly. One such object is 2MASS J18082002-5104378 B, the earlier file-holder for the bottom iron content material of [Fe/H] = -4.07 ± 0.07 - around 11,750 instances less metallic than the Sun.

"Population III stars exploding as fallback supernovae may explain both the strong carbon enhancement and the apparent lack of enhancement of odd-Z and neutron-capture element abundances", the abstract reads.

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