Earliest Stars in Milky Way Found: Research

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Discovery of Ancient Stars in the Milky Way

A recent study published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society has unveiled the existence of some of the oldest stars ever observed within our very own Milky Way galaxy. These stars, located in the halo of our galaxy, just 30,000 light-years away from Earth, have been estimated to be between 12 billion and 13 billion years old, aligning them with the earliest stars known to humanity.

Analysis of Metal-Poor Stars

These ancient stars were identified through data collected by the Las Campanas Observatory’s Magellan-Clay telescope. Remarkably, they exhibit a metal-poor composition, notably deficient in strontium and barium. This characteristic is reminiscent of stars found in ultra-faint dwarf galaxies, potentially serving as the fundamental building blocks for our Milky Way.

In a previous discovery back in 2022, researchers part of the RELICS program detected Earendel, the eldest star on record, through a gravitational lensing effect caused by a distant galaxy cluster. Earendel, much like the recently identified ancient stars and other stellar groups near the galactic center, showcases a metal-poor profile indicative of its formation during the universe’s infancy.

Motion of Ancient Stars

An intriguing aspect of the newly discovered ancient stars is their counterintuitive movement opposite to the majority of stars in the Milky Way halo. The team of astronomers also highlighted that these stars exhibit high velocities, traveling at hundreds of kilometers per second, leading to their peculiar trajectory within the galaxy. This unexpected behavior poses an enthralling mystery for astrophysicists to decipher.

Further investigations aim to expand the search for metal-poor stars within our galaxy, utilizing advanced observatories like the Webb Space Telescope. By studying these ancient stellar entities, scientists anticipate gaining insights into the timeline of stellar evolution as well as unraveling the mechanisms behind the Milky Way’s formation. The ongoing quest for ancient stars serves as a fascinating avenue to comprehend the origins and evolution of our cosmic backyard.

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Chris Jones

Hey there! 👋 I'm Chris, 34 yo from Toronto (CA), I'm a journalist with a PhD in journalism and mass communication. For 5 years, I worked for some local publications as an envoy and reporter. Today, I work as 'content publisher' for InformOverload. 📰🌐 Passionate about global news, I cover a wide range of topics including technology, business, healthcare, sports, finance, and more. If you want to know more or interact with me, visit my social channels, or send me a message.
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