A group of astronomers from Australia state they have discovered the oldest known star in the universe. It is one which was formed only 200 million years after the Big Bang occurred. Stefan Keller, who is the lead researcher of the team and also works for the Australian National University Research School of Astronomy, explained in a press statement that this finding was the first time astronomers have been able to unmistakably declare that they have the chemical impression of the first star.
The star is believed to be 13.7 billion years old and is quite a bit older than prior stars discovered in 2007 and 2013, which were both thought to be 13.2 billion years old. The astronomers scrutinized the light coming from the star in order to decide its chemical design, and deduced the star’s age from that. The biggest revealing sign that the star is so prehistoric is the total lack of any measurable level of iron in the light band that is coming from the star itself, Keller explained.
The star was spotted for the first time on Jan. 2 in the Milky Way. It was around 6,000 light years from the Earth using the Australian University Sky Mapper telescope. The stars that are being found number one in a million, stated Professor Mike Bessel, who is one of the astronomers on the team. He added that to be able to find such a fine needle in that kind of haystack was only possible due to the Australian University Sky Mapper telescope. It has the distinctive ability to be able to discover stars that have low to no iron by their color.
The newly found star was created in the wake of a primitive star and had a mass that was nearly 60 times larger than that of the Sun. Keller stated that to produce a star similar to the Sun, there must be the rudimentary ingredients of helium and hydrogen which come from the Big Bang and them add a huge amount of iron, around the equal of about 1,000 times the mass of the Earth.
Keller added that ancient stars were formerly believed to have perished in vicious explosions which contaminated space with iron. But this new discovery has shown there are instead signs of pollution which are made up of components like magnesium and carbon and that there are not any traces of iron anywhere. In order to have created this prehistoric star, there would have been no need for more than an asteroid about the size of Australia full of iron and carbon, Keller continued. That is quite a different recipe than what astronomers were led to believe before. It also explains quite a bit about the first stars and how they ended up dying.
Keller and his associates hope their findings will help aid in resolving some discrepancies between interpretations and calculations about the Big Bang. This is only the beginning in learning what those first stars were truly like. The research discovery report was printed up in the newest edition of the journal Nature. The group of astronomers from Australia state they have discovered the oldest known star in the universe and it sounds like they really have.
By Kimberly Ruble