Nearby star is almost as old as the Universe

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At www.nature.com

Astronomers have discovered a Methuselah of stars - a denizen of the Solar System's neighbourhood that is at least 13.2 billion years old and formed shortly after the Big Bang. The discovery places constraints on early star formation. The very first generation of stars coalesced from primordial gas, which did not contain appreciable amounts of elements heavier than helium. That means that as old as HD 140283 is, its chemical composition shows that the star must have formed after the first stellar generation. Conditions for making the second generation of stars, then, 'must have been in place very early.' The very first stars are usually thought to have coalesced a few hundred million years after the Big Bang. Massive and short lived, they died after only a few million years - exploding in supernovae that heated surrounding gas and seeded it with heavier elements.

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At www.nature.com


 

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