A new study suggests that the earliest stars in the cosmos were monstrous (with about 10 times the mass of our Sun) and spun extremely rapidly. They were formed around 200 to 400 million years after the Big Bang, the event that could have created the universe 13.7 billion years ago.
The study was led by the Brazilian astrophysics Cristina Chiappini – rooted at Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam, in Germany – and published in the Journal Nature. Cristina and her team reanalysed some stellar data from the Very Large Telescope (VLT), in European Southern Observatory (ESO). They looked closely at eight stars in a globular cluster called NGC 6522.
Looking at the “witnesses”
As the first stars were very large, they had a short life. Unfortunately, none of them are alive to tell the story. However, when a heavy star dies, it explodes in a supernova, expelling its elements into space. These elements form a stellar dust’s cloud that is reincorporated during the formation of new stars.
The stars observed by Chiappini have been around for about 12 billion years, and are among the oldest objects in our galaxy. They carry in their structure ‘pieces’ of the first stars. Since they ...