According to a study published on November 5, scientists claim that this star, located in the same Milky Way as the solar system, would have been “born” 13.5 billion years ago with the proof that the material structure of this star has a very low amount of metal. The star that formed only about 300 million years after the Big Bang has a small mass and contains very little metal.
The star, named 2MASS J18082002-5104378 B, is one of the oldest stars in the universe, located in the Milky Way. 2MASS J18082002-5104378 B formed just a few million years after the Big Bang, which exploded about 13.8 billion years ago and is believed to have created the current universe. There were no metals in the early universe. Metals are melted in the cores of first-generation stars. When they die, the metal is dispersed throughout the universe. 2MASS J18082002-5104378 B contains the smallest amount of metal of any star ever discovered. Its mass is also very low, just enough to synthesize hydrogen and emit light.
“This discovery shows that the first stars in the universe were not necessarily massive, long-dead stars. Ancient stars likely formed from very small amounts of matter, and some may still exist today. This offers new insight into star formation in the early universe,” says astrophysicist Andrew Casey of Monash University.
Scientists once thought that the first stars were very large and short-lived. However, the new discovery shows that low-mass stars are also likely to have been born in the early stages. By following them, experts can learn more about the universe several hundred million years after the Big Bang.
“These stars are extremely rare, like finding a needle in a haystack. However, the abundance of data from ground and space telescopes has opened up great prospects. We are closer than ever to understanding how stars formed in the early universe,” Casey said.
Astronomers have observed a number of stars that formed after the Big Bang just 250 million years ago, or 2% of the current age of the universe. To “go back” further in time, scientists need new instruments, in particular the James Webb Space Telescope. The telescope is to be launched into space in 2021. The goal is then to determine when the first star in the first galaxy formed.