A new study, which the journal Nature recently published, claims that the earliest stars in a galaxy that is 13.28 billion light-years away from us formed very son after the Big Bang. Meaning only about 250 million years after. It seems that in the galaxy called MACS1149-JD1, stars formed very early in the universe. So early that experts have a hard time detecting exactly when. Apart from this, this new study also revealed that this far away galaxy is the most distant source of oxygen in existence.
Initially, this galaxy was discovered in 2012. It is one of the most distant objects whose light experts were able to detect. So, in order to identify oxygen, experts needed to find out exactly the age of the stars in the galaxy. Stars create oxygen which is then released into gas clouds when these stars meet their end. This was how the team was able to discover that there must have been an older generation of stars which died within the galaxy. It’s interesting that the researchers were not that surprised to find oxygen. Instead, they were shocked at how early this oxygen formed.
The formation of the first stars
In order to find out the age of those stars, the team of experts used the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile. After intricate measurements, they reached the conclusion that what they were viewing was the galaxy at 550 million years old. Then, using infrared data, they analyzed the brightness of this galaxy. This was when they figured out that stars must have formed here only about 250 million years after the Big Bang. In space terms, this is very soon.
Now, study co-author Nicolas Laporte thinks that in future studies, experts could use even more sensitive measurements. The purpose would be to analyze the very first galaxies and stars in the universe.
Image source: pixabay