The Very Large Telescope, one of ESO’s telescopes in Chile, has discovered 13.5 billion-year-old remains. The telescope observed three clouds of gas with the same chemical composition of what may also have been released during the explosions of the first stars.
The stars in question were hundreds of times more massive than our Sun but contained only helium and hydrogen. When they died, additional elements were released, such as magnesium, carbon, and oxygen. This material enriched the surrounding gas from which other stars were later born. These stars, in turn, ejected heavier elements as they exploded. The explosions that killed the first generation of stars were not powerful enough to eject heavier elements such as the iron in the star’s core.
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Astronomers tried to find the remnants of stars by looking for distant clouds of gas that were low in iron but rich in elements such as carbon and oxygen. In this way they found the remnants of these stars.
According to Stefania Salvadori of the University of Florence, Italy, this discovery “opens new horizons for indirectly studying the nature of the first stars.” That writes the British news site “Sky News”. Scientists hope the remains will reveal more secrets about how the first stars formed after the Big Bang.
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