Best Observational Evidence of First Generation Stars in the Universe | ESO

Donald Steiny Blog, Cosmology, Science, Science and Society Blog Leave a Comment

Of all the sad things for the people who think that the Earth is only about 10,000 years old, the saddest is that they miss stuff like this, seeing back to the beginning of time.  A universe made of Hydrogen, Helium and a tiny bit of Lithium … a galaxy so bright its light can be seen 10 billion years later … a galaxy that has been gone for many billions of years. 

Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope have discovered by far the brightest galaxy yet found in the early Universe and found strong evidence that examples of the first generation of stars lurk within it. These massive, brilliant, and previously purely theoretical objects were the creators of the first heavy elements in history — the elements necessary to forge the stars around us today, the planets that orbit them, and life as we know it. The newly found galaxy, labelled CR7, is three times brighter than the brightest distant galaxy known up to now.

Astronomers have long theorised the existence of a first generation of stars — known as Population III stars — that were born out of the primordial material from the Big Bang [1]. All the heavier chemical elements — such as oxygen, nitrogen, carbon and iron, which are essential to life — were forged in the bellies of stars. This means that the first stars must have formed out of the only elements to exist prior to stars: hydrogen, helium and trace amounts of lithium.

These Population III stars would have been enormous — several hundred or even a thousand times more massive than the Sun — blazing hot, and transient — exploding as supernovae after only about two million years. But until now the search for physical proof of their existence had been inconclusive [2]..

Source: Best Observational Evidence of First Generation Stars in the Universe | ESO

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