Pakistan's Premier Multilingual News Agency

Oldest known star in the Galactic Halo discovered.

The chemical properties of the star align with the theory of PISN, said Zhao Gang, leader of the research project.

Beijing, 8 June, 2023 (GNP): An international team of researchers has achieved a groundbreaking feat by identifying the oldest star in the Galactic Halo, known as LAMOST J1010+2358.

This significant discovery sheds new light on the early stars, the evolution of the Milky Way, and the universe as a whole. Led by Chinese astronomers at the National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC), their study has been published in the prestigious journal Nature.

Zhao Gang, the project leader, highlighted the crucial role of the first stars in illuminating the universe and ending the cosmic “dark ages” following the Big Bang.

However, the distribution of mass among these early stars remains an intriguing cosmic mystery. According to numerical simulations, the first stars could have weighed several hundred times more than the Sun.

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The study revealed that among these early stars, those with masses ranging from 140 to 260 times that of the Sun ultimately underwent a special type of supernova called pair-instability supernovae (PISN). This explosive event imprinted a distinct chemical signature in the atmospheres of subsequent generations of stars.

The discovery of the LAMOST J1010+2358 star initially occurred during a survey conducted by the Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST) in China. Subsequently, follow-up observations using the Subaru telescope in Japan confirmed the star’s unique chemical characteristics.

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This breakthrough offers the first concrete evidence of PISN occurring in a massive first-generation star during the early stages of the universe. The implications of this finding extend to our understanding of the origin of elements, early star formation in the universe, and the chemical evolution of galaxies.

Experts consider this study as a vital step towards comprehending the properties and formation of first-generation stars, galaxies, and the overall structure of the universe. Furthermore, it holds the potential to provide valuable insights into the mechanisms involved in the formation of very massive black holes during the early universe.