Astronomers have found the oldest star in the universe right in our galaxy.
The star, dubbed SMSS J031300, was discovered by scientists from the Australian State University in Canberra.
MOSCOW, 10 Feb. Australian astronomers have discovered the oldest known star in our Galaxy today, their results are published in the journal Nature.
Stars on the edge of the Milky Way appeared 11.4 billion years ago-scientists —
The star, named SMSS J031300. 36-670839. 3, was discovered by Stefan Keller of the Australian State University in Canberra and his colleagues. According to scientists, it was formed 13.6 billion years ago, that is, almost immediately after the Big Bang, much earlier than the Milky Way appeared. The star is relatively close to us-6 thousand light-years away.
In the radiation spectrum of the ancient star discovered by Keller and his colleagues, there is almost no iron-its content is a millionth of the amount that is in the Sun, and it is at least 60 times less than in other stars.
After the Big Bang, only hydrogen, helium, and lithium were common in the universe. The remaining elements — iron in particular-were formed as a result of thermonuclear reactions inside stars, which threw the produced elements into the surrounding space, exploding like supernovae. Therefore, the level of iron in the Universe increases as generations of stars are born and die, so that the iron content in a star can be judged by its age.
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According to the chemical composition of the found star, scientists conclude that it appeared from the remains of an even older star with a mass of about 60 times more than the sun. Such stars, formed from hydrogen and helium, were the very first in the universe. Astronomers do not hope to find them, since according to their calculations, the lifetime of such stars should have been several million years.
To search for ancient stars, Keller and his colleagues use the Siding Spring Observatory telescope, and the most likely of the discovered candidates are then checked with the Magellan telescopes at the Chilean Las Campanas Observatory. Astronomers believe that only a few dozen such ancient stars can be found.
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