Oldest star in the universe found

A lack of iron isn’t just a problem for us here on earth, in fact, a reduced amount of iron is what helped scientists identify the oldest known star in the universe.

So how do scientists know they have found the oldest star?

Well, most stars we look at are high in iron (in comparison), which is a heavy particle and takes time for a sun to produce, hence younger stars will be higher in iron content because they will be 3rd, 4th or more generation stars.

When a star explodes (it’s called a supernova) it sends a massive cloud of particles out in all directions, this cloud of particles will eventually, over billions of years form more stars and have more heavy elements than before.

In fact, all particles on earth were born in a star at some point in the past.

Yes, you are a star 🙂

So how do scientist measure what stars are made of?

Well, different particles send out different wavelengths of light, so by analysing the light from stars they can decipher what a star is made of.

So what is the star called?

SMSS J031300.36-670839.3.

It’s located 6000 light years from earth, it’s over 60 times bigger than our sun and is an estimated 13.7 Billion years old which is shortly after the big bang. When we say shortly we are still talking in the billions of years so it didn’t appear straight away.

The discovery of the star has allowed astronomers for the first time to study the chemistry of the first stars, giving a clearer idea of what the Universe was like in its infancy.

The star was discovered using the Australian ANU SkyMapper telescope at the Siding Spring Observatory, which is searching for ancient stars as it conducts a five-year project to produce the first digital map of the southern sky. The Astronomers confirmed the discovery using the Magellan telescope in Chile.

The discovery was published in the journal Nature.

Stay Curious –  C.Costigan


Share This Science News


more insights