Webb telescope detects evidence of the first stars that illuminated the universe | Trending Viral hub


If you’ve ever thought about the first stars after the Big Bang, you may have racked your brain trying to understand what they were made of.

Since most of the metals in the universe are believed to come from exploded dead starsScientists have rationalized that the firstborn must have been composed almost exclusively of hydrogen and helium, the primitive material that emerged from the Big Bang.

Good idea. The thing is, no one has seen one of these purebred stars yet.

But a team that uses the James Webb Space Telescopea collaboration of POT and the Europeans and Canadians space agencies, they may be onto something. While recently studying the galaxy GN-z11, which existed when the 13.8 billion-year-old universe was only about 430 million years old, they found a mass of helium in the halo surrounding it. The new research, accepted for publication by the scientific magazine Astronomy and Astrophysicscould lead to one of the most important discoveries in modern astrophysics.

“The fact that we see nothing but helium suggests that this mass must be quite pristine,” said lead researcher Roberto Maiolino of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. in a sentence.

In theory, scientists expected to find clusters like this around massive galaxies from early ages. The idea is that these pristine pockets of gas could collapse and form so-called Population III star clusters, Maiolino said.

Crushable speed of light

The confusing name Population stars III They are the theorized stars that should have formed in the early universe before metals, an astronomical term for all elements heavier than helium, existed. Stars are believed to be very massive, luminous and hot.

Webb Telescope in Search of Population III Stars

Scientists found evidence for the existence of first-generation stars on the outskirts of GN-z11, an extremely distant galaxy that existed in the early universe.
Credit: NASA / ESA / CSA / STScI / Brant Robertson / Ben Johnson / Sandro Tacchella / Marcia Rieke / Daniel Eisenstein

The reason they are called “Population III“It’s because back in the 1940s, stars were divided into two main categories: those that were metal-rich and those that were metal-poor, according to Swinburne University of Technology in Australia. But even the latter have a lot have been made possible by the primitive gas left over from the Big Bang.

Over time, astronomers began to think in terms of a third population of stars yet to be seen, made up of pure big bang material that had not been processed by previous generations of stars.

The cores of stars are considered factories of elements: they produce carbon, for example, the same chemical substance with which Humans and much of life on Earth. based. Then, through supernova explosions, they spread heavy elements, such as calcium found in bones and iron in blood, across interstellar space. This seed dispersal new generations of stars and planetsBut scientists admit they still have a lot to learn about the early stages of the process.

Webb telescope that studies the early universe

The James Webb Space Telescope was built to study the first stars and galaxies that formed in the universe.
Credit: NASA GSFC/CIL/Adriana Manrique Gutiérrez illustration

In astronomy, looking further translates to looking into the past because light and other forms of radiation take longer to reach us. Webb was created to study an extremely early period of the cosmos, detect invisible light at infrared wavelengths. In short, a lot of dust and gas in space obscures the vision of extremely distant and inherently dim light sources, but infrared waves can penetrate through clouds.

“The initial goal of this mission was to see the first stars and galaxies,” Webb program scientist Eric Smith said in 2022, “not the first light of the universe, but to see the universe turn on the lights for the first time.” “


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