Australian astronomers from the NationalUniversity reported the discovery of the oldest star in the known universe. The object belongs to the class of so-called red giants and received the very complex and long name SMSS J160540.18–144323.1. Interestingly, the star is located on the edge of our Milky Way galaxy, at a distance of about 35,000 light-years from Earth. The fact that this star is very ancient, scientists told a study that showed that this star has the lowest metal content, among all other known stars.
The oldest star in the universe
According to scientists, this star belongs to the second generation of stars that formed shortly (by cosmic standards) after the birth of the Universe 13.8 billion years ago.
This incredibly old star, which is probablyformed just a few hundred million years after the Big Bang, has an iron level of 1.5 million times lower than that of our Sun. It's like a drop of water in the Olympic pool, ”says Thomas Nordlander, one of the authors of the study.
How did the stars appear?
Researchers explain that the very first starsin the universe consisted only of light elements such as hydrogen and helium. They practically did not have metals and iron in particular, since these elements had not yet formed by the birth of the first stars.
According to scientists, the first stars were verylarge and short-lived. In the course of thermonuclear reactions in their bowels, atoms of light elements combined into heavier elements. As the life of these stars came to an end, they exploded in very bright flashes of supernovae, scattering heavy elements throughout the cosmos.
With the formation of new stars, heavy elementsattracted to them under the influence of a very powerful force of gravity. At the end of their life cycle, these stars also exploded. New ones were born, and so generation after generation. For example, it is believed that our Sun consists of the elements of 100,000 stars that existed before it.
Scientists suggest that the star is SMSS J160540.18-144323.1 was formed after the explosion of one of the very first stars that appeared in the Universe. Perhaps it had a very small mass for the stars of that time and was only 10 times more massive than our sun. Probably, the star’s explosion at the end of her life turned out to be so weak that the star did not die entirely, but left behind a bare core. Most of the discarded matter of the former star (heavy and light chemical elements) fell back to this core. The rest of the matter formed a new star, the same one that has been discovered at the present time. Astronomers are going to examine it more closely to get a more complete picture of the stars that existed in the early Universe.
See also: 10 amazing and incredible phenomena and phenomena associated with the stars
As mentioned above, the oldestThe discovered star is in the phase of the so-called red giant. This means that she is dying - her last reserves of hydrogen are running out for the continuation of thermonuclear reactions. By the way, our Sun in the future, after about 5 billion years, will face the same fate. When this happens, all life on Earth (if there is still something alive on the planet at that time) will be destroyed.
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