Australian scientists discover oldest known star

imagesScientists have newly found a star which is assumed to be the oldest living star in the entire universe, the one formed only one or two hundred million years after the Big Bang itself.

Astronomers discovered an ancient star a few thousand light-years from Earth, which is presumed to be born some 13.6 billion years ago, assumed to be over 400 million years, and bids an exclusive view into what the universe viewed like soon after it is formed. They are having the probability of becoming the universe’s first stars.

A team of explorers led by Australian National University astronomer Stefan Keller discovered the star while conducting a dedicated search for these second-generation stars. The motive behind the whole exploration is that by studying the composition of second-generation stars, scientists will be able to study more about their ancestors which comprise the first population of stars to emerge after the big bang, the enormous release of energy that gave rise to the universe.

These first stars are thought to have seen some 1 million to 10 million years after the so called big bang. They form the part of small galaxies. These protogalaxies would combine with larger galaxies whose ionizing radiation would boost a fog of molecular hydrogen that had disallowed light from traveling transversely through the universe.

“This is the first time that we’ve been able to unambiguously say that we’ve found the chemical fingerprint of a first star,” Keller said. “What this star has enabled us to do is record the fingerprint of those first stars.”

The star was first noticed out as part of a million-star survey deploying the SkyMapper Telescope at the Australian National University’s Siding Spring Observatory in New South Wales, Australia. In high-resolution, observations followed up by the Magellan Telescopes in Chile, astronomers noticed that one faint star, named as SMSS J031300.36-670839.3, contained abnormally low levels of heavy metals such as iron.

Current theories suggest that astronomers can guess the age of stars iron deposits present. The unpredicted deficiency of metal in the aged star points out that it was born out of the leftovers of very short-lived, primeval supernovae that had a star mass 60 times that of the sun’s.

The new stellar old-timer calls our own Milky Way galaxy home, and it is located just 6,000 light-years away in the far southern constellation Dorado. But it is thought to be even older than the galaxy.

Keller and his teammates are certain of the stellar old-timer may have created in a secluded gas dribble in the primeval universe. Later on, it was assimilated into our galaxy.

Regardless of its age, the primordial star can still be spotted from the Southern Hemisphere with a common large backyard telescope.

Keller said,“Stars are like time capsules; they lock away a chunk of the universe as it was when the star formed. This is an important time in the evolution of the universe—our Milky Way is formative, the first stars have switched on, and the first heavier elements, which we need for life, are starting to disperse.”

“Even with the largest and most advance telescopes, we have not yet been able to study the light directly from this time,” he adds.

Because the star glows at a frail 14.7 magnitude, Keller approximates that to see it with naked eyes. A sky-watcher will need to peer skyward under dark skies through an instrument at least 16 to 20 inches. However digital cameras can also be used to time capture the star’s elusive gleam.