Primordial Stars Haunt A Bright And Ancient Galaxy

The birth of the primeval first generation of fiery stars is cloaked in alluring mystery–their attributes remain undetermined. The oldest stars are believed to have ignited as early as 100 million years after the Big Bang birth of our Universe about 13.8 billion years ago, casting their lovely, brilliant, raging fires into the swath of incredible, featureless darkness that was our primordial Universe before the stars were born. For decades, astronomers have theorized about the existence of this first ancient generation of stars–known as Population III stars–that emerged from the pristine material formed in the Big Bang. In June 2015, astronomers using the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO’s) Very Large Telescope (VLT), announced that they may have solved this mystery when they discovered what is by far the most brilliant galaxy yet seen in the ancient Universe, finding strong evidence that some members of the mysterious and elusive first generation of stars may be haunting it. These sparkling, brilliant, fiery ancient stars–purely hypothetical objects–may have at last been found hiding in that distant galaxy, which is three times brighter than the brightest distant galaxy known up to now. 바카라사이트

Population III stars were the creators of the very first batch of heavy elements in the Cosmos. After the Big Bang, the Universe knew only hydrogen, helium, and trace quantities of lithium–all of the atomic elements heavier than helium, which are termed metals by astronomers, were cooked up in the searing hot, nuclear-fusing cores of the stars, their stellar furnaces progressively fusing lighter atomic elements into heavier ones. Hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant atomic element in the Universe, and helium is the second-lightest. The existence of these heavy metals, cooked up in the hot hearts of ancient stars, were necessary to give birth to the kind of stars that we see today, the planets that circle them, and life as we know it. The oxygen we breathe, the carbon that is the basis for life on Earth, the dirt beneath our feet, the iron in our blood, all exist because ancient stars were there to create them within their secretive, seething, roiling hot hearts.

Astronomers have long hypothesized the existence of Population III stars, born from the very light primeval material of the Big Bang. Because all metals were created in the nuclear-fusing cores of stars, this means that the first stars must have formed out of the only atomic elements that existed before the stars were there–hydrogen, helium, and a pinch of lithium.

It is commonly thought that these Population III stars would have been behemoths–several hundred or even a thousand times more massive than our own fiery Sun. The first stars were likely searing-hot, and short-lived–blasting themselves to shreds in the rage of supernovae after only about two million years of nuclear-fusing stellar existence. However, until now, the hunt for direct, physical proof of the existence of these ancient, enormous stars, has been inconclusive.

 

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