They discover evidence of the first stars in the Universe

Scientists from Chile found debris from what is believed to be the explosion of a star from the early years of the universe. 

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Its mass, it is calculated, was 300 solar masses.

Observations of a distant quasar have made it possible to find evidence of ancient chemical traces that reveal the death of a possible star that was among the first to light up the universe.

The National Laboratory for Research in Optical-Infrared Astronomy (NoirLab) in Cerro Tololo (Chile) reported that an innovative analysis of a distant quasar allowed to find an unusual proportion of elements that, for scientists, could only come from the debris produced in the explosion of a first generation star of 300 solar masses.

The first concrete evidence?

The first stars – known as Population III –  likely formed when the universe was just 100 million years old, less than one percent of its current age, and were so large that when they exploded as supernovae they seeded space with a distinctive combination. of heavy elements.

However, despite decades of searching so far there is no direct evidence for these primordial stars .

The analysis of some of the most distant quasars known – whose light has been traveling 13.1 billion years -, with the Gemini North telescope, has made it possible to identify what researchers believe to be the remnant material of the explosion of a first-generation star .

Using an innovative method to deduce the chemical elements contained in the clouds surrounding the quasar , they noticed a very unusual composition in which the material contained ten times more iron than magnesium, compared to the proportion of these elements that can be found in our Sun. .

A hypothesis to be tested

The most likely explanation for this surprising feature is that the material was left behind by a first-generation star that exploded as a pair-instability supernova that, unlike other supernovae, leaves no stellar remnants.

If these results are evidence of an early star and pair-instability supernova remnant, this discovery will help complete our picture of how matter in the universe evolved into what it is today. NoirLab .

To verify whether this interpretation is correct, many more observations are required to see if other objects have similar characteristics. EFE