What's the 'Oldest' Known Star In the Universe?

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By Karla Danica Figuerres | February 13, 2014 6:57 PM EST

The oldest accepted star in the universe is called the ancient star. It is around 6,000 light years away from Earth. It was formed 13.7 billion years ago soon after the Big Bang. This was discovered by The Australian National University group of astronomers.

The exploration of the universe led many astronomers to discover more of the first and age-old stars, allowing many researchers and scientists to get explicit concept about the universe and its origin.

Dr. Stefan Keller, lead researcher of the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics said, "This is the first time that we've been able to unambiguously say that we've found the chemical fingerprint of a first star."

"This is one of the first steps in understanding what those first stars were like. What this star has enabled us to do is record the fingerprint of those first stars," Keller added.

By using the ANU SkyMapper telescope at the Siding Spring Observatory, which is a searching panel for old-aged stars as it manages a five-year activity to construct the first digital map, the star was identified.

The SkyMapper on its first year captured 60 million stars and the ancient star is one of these stars.

"The stars we are finding number one in a million," Team Member Prof. Mike Bessell said.

"Finding such needles in a haystack is possible thanks to the ANU SkyMapper telescope that is unique in its ability to find stars with low iron from their colour," he added.

The findings were proved by Dr. Keller and Prof. Bessell using the Magellan telescope in Chile.

The structure of the recently identified star exhibited the time of the awakening of the earliest star, which is 60 times heavier than the sun.

"To make a star like our sun, you take the basic ingredients of Hydrogen and Helium from the Big Bang and add an enormous amount of iron - the equivalent of about 1,000 times the Earth's mass," Dr. Keller stated

"To make this ancient star, you need no more than an Australia-sized asteroid of Iron and lots of Carbon. It's a very different recipe that tells us a lot about the nature of the first stars and how they died," he added.

He also stated that the ancient star revealed indications of pollution with lighter elements such as Carbon and Magnesium, and no sign of pollution with Iron. "This indicates the primordial star's supernova explosion was of surprisingly low energy.

Although sufficient to disintegrate the primordial star, almost all of the heavy elements such as Iron, were consumed by a black hole that formed at the heart of the explosion," he added.

Meanwhile, with such studies and findings the confusion in the prognosis of the Big Bang maybe be resolved.

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