MessageToEagle.com - A team of astrophysicists from Germany, France and Italy have discovered in the constellation
Leo an old star. The star's existence raised at once many questions for scientists.
The object is definitely not as its "contemporaries" that appeared immediately after the Big Bang event.
For now, SDSS J102915 +172927 is unique but probably not for long as many other similar to this one can be found.
The star is a relatively small object (less than 0.8 solar masses) and it does not fit into
the modern theory of star formation. Its age is estimated to more than 13 billion years.
In this case, the theoretical age of our universe is equal to 13.75 billion years old.
"The star is faint, and so metal-poor that we could only detect the signature of one element heavier than helium -
calcium - in our first observations," said Piercarlo Bonifacio (Observatoire de Paris, France), who supervised the project.
"We had to ask for additional telescope time from ESO's Director General to study the star's light in even more detail,
and with a long exposure time, to try to find other metals."
The team analysed the properties of the star using the X-shooter and UVES instruments on the VLT. This allowed them
to measure how abundant the various chemical elements were in the star. They found that the proportion of metals in
SDSS J102915+172927 is more than 20 000 times smaller than that of the Sun.
Cosmologists believe that the lightest chemical elements — hydrogen and helium — were created shortly after
the Big Bang, together with some lithium, while almost all other elements were formed later in stars.
Supernova explosions spread the stellar material into the interstellar medium, making it richer in metals.
New stars form from this enriched medium so they have higher amounts of metals in their composition than the older stars.
Therefore, the proportion of metals in a star tells us how old it is.
SDSS J102915+172927, has been found to have the lowest amount of elements heavier than helium of all stars yet studied.
The pie-chart shows the star’s composition: it is almost entirely made from hydrogen and helium with only a tiny trace of
heavier elements. Credit:ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2
“The star we have studied is extremely metal-poor, meaning it is very primitive. It could be one of the oldest stars
ever found,” adds Lorenzo Monaco (ESO, Chile), also involved in the study.
Also very surprising was the lack of lithium in SDSS J102915+172927. Such an old star should have a composition
similar to that of the Universe shortly after the Big Bang, with a few more metals in it. But the team found that
the proportion of lithium in the star was at least fifty times less than expected in the material produced by the Big Bang.
“It is a mystery how the lithium that formed just after the beginning of the Universe was destroyed in this star,” Bonifacio added.
“We have identified several more candidate stars that might have metal levels similar to, or even lower than, those in SDSS J102915+172927.
We are now planning to observe them with the VLT to see if this is the case,” concludes Elisabetta Caffau (Zentrum für Astronomie
der Universität Heidelberg, Germany and Observatoire de Paris, France), lead author of the paper.
“It was surprising to find, for the first time, a star in this ‘forbidden zone’, and it means we may have to revisit some
of the star formation models.”
Astrophysicist Resolves Paradox With Radio Millisecond Pulsars
Celestial objects known as pulsars are still full of secrets. It is takes time and many efforts to learn all their secrets. Previous studies reached
the paradoxical conclusion that some millisecond pulsars are even older than the universe itself. It was time to resolve this paradox.
Extremely Distant And Exotic Quasar
It is an exotic and distant object, which has a velocity of recession of approximately 270,000 kilometers per second (!) or - 91 percent of the
velocity of light itself.
The results show that this quasar, known as Q1442+101, is among exotic objects receding from the Milky Way at tremendous velocities of thousands
and occasionally even hundreds of thousands of kilometers per second!
Unusual Pulsar Or Alien Signals?
The pulse timing of this object is considered unusual.
What kind of phenomenon is related to this object?
It is the first time this kind of phenomenon has been observed by astronomers.
The "Cloaked" Star Was Difficult To Find
An object obscured by dust, and buried in a two-star system enshrouded by dense gas, is not easy to find.
A "cloaked" star was discovered after it ate a little of its neighbor. The meal must have given the star a bit of indigestion, because it
"burped" with a blast of high-energy radiation, which gave it away.
Black Gaps In The Sky Puzzle Astronomers
Very dark isolated interstellar clouds of very cold gas like black gaps have puzzled astronomers for more than a century.
Looking at the sky in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius, it is clear that there are extremely dark,
opaque knots of gas and dust especially in the region toward the center of our Milky Way.
Invader From Another Galaxy
This alien intruder from another galaxy is in many ways different from other exoplanets observed by astronomers.
Located about 2000 light-years from Earth in the southern constellation of Fornax (the Furnace), the Jupiter-like planet orbits a dying star of
extragalactic origin and risks to be engulfed by it.
Power To See Most Distant Objects In The Universe
The 3C294, is one of the most distant galaxies recorded by Chandra, the most sophisticated X-ray observatory ever built.
The cluster 3C294 is even 40 percent farther (!) than the next most distant x-ray galaxy cluster.
Chandra focus on X-rays from high-energy regions of the Universe and see the invisible.
It is so sensitive that it can capture images of particles as they disappear into a black hole deep in outer space.