Universe’s earliest understood stars discovered in Milky Way’s ‘halo’

Universe’s earliest understood stars discovered in Milky Way’s ‘halo’

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A group from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) haveactually found 3 of the earliest stars in the universe. To their surprise, the stars were not in some far off galaxy that just the ultra-powerful James Webb Space Telescope can area. They are in our own stellar area inside the Milky Way’s “halo,” according to a researchstudy released May 14 in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The Milky Way’s halo is a cloud of stars that include all of our galaxy’s primary stellar disk. The group thinks that these 3 stars formed inbetween 12 and 13 billion years ago, right around when our universe was start to take shape. They call the stars Small Accreted Stellar System stars–or SASS–and each star possibly belonged to its own little galaxy that was takenin by the bigger and still growing Milky Way at some point in time. These 3 stars are now all that stays of their previous galaxies. 

According to the group, they circle the borders of the Milky Way, where there might be more old and consistent stars hiding. 

“These earliest stars needto certainly be there, provided what we understand of galaxy development,” MIT astronomer and astrophysicist Anna Frebel stated in a declaration through MIT News. “They are part of our cosmic household tree. And we now have a brand-new method to discover them.”

[Related: Youth-stealing stars could explain ‘missing giants’ at the Milky Way’s center.]

This researchstudy came from a class idea that started throughout the Fall 2022 term, when Frebel introduced a course called Observational Stellar Archaeology. In the class, trainees discovered the strategies required to evaluate ancient stars and then used them to stars that had not been studied to figureout their origins. It consistedof numerous undergrads and current finishes who are now co-authors of this brand-new researchstudy.

“While most of our classes are taught from the ground up, this class rightaway put us at the frontier of researchstudy in astrophysics,” Hillary Andales, a researchstudy co-author and member of MIT’s Class of 2023, stated in a declaration.

The class was browsing for ancient stars that formed quickly after the huge bang–about 13.8 billion years back. This was when the universe was mainly made of helium and hydrogen and did not have big quantities of other chemical aspects like barium and strontium. The class combed through information gathered by Frebel over the years from the Magellan-Clay telescope

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