China National Space Administration launched its 300th Long March mission last week. Long March 3B rocket launched on March 10 that took off from Xichang…
The Universe is one of the unique topics that always we have some interesting themes to write about. Today’s article is devoted to the oldest star that astronomers have detected.
And now astronomers have discovered something new: a star that’s around 13.5 billion years old, right here in our own Milky Way galaxy.
The star’s name is 2MASS J18082002–5104378 B, and probably, it is one of the oldest stars in the entire Universe.
“We’ve never discovered a star so low mass and made of so few grams of metals,” astrophysicist Andrew Casey of Monash University in Australia told ScienceAlert.
The smoking gun is its metal content. It is a rare phenomenon in the early Universe. For example, the younger the star, the greater the metal content, or metallicity.
So the oldest star 2MASS J18082002–5104378 B has the lowest metallicity of any star ever revealed. It is about 10 percent of the metallicity of Earth. Accordingly, astronomers can come up with the idea, that the star-dense disc of our galaxy is much older than the 8-10 billion years previously estimated.
“This discovery tells us that the very first stars in the Universe didn’t have to all be massive stars that died long ago. These ancient stars could form from very small amounts of material, which means some of those relics from soon after the Big Bang could still exist today. That gives us a new viewpoint for star formation in the early Universe!”
In fact, according to calculations, a tiny star could conceivably live for trillions of years.
“Massive stars ‘live fast and die young’, but less massive stars – say 20 percent lighter than our Sun – can easily live for 13 billion years,” Casey said.
“The problem is that astronomers have long-believed that the first stars in the Universe were massive, and therefore none of them should survive until the present day. This discovery helps change all that: it shows that ancient stars can be very low mass, which implies that some of the oldest stars in the Universe may still be around today.”
Image Credit: www.sciencealert.com
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