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Posted by on Dec 10, 2012 in Science |

MIT “is” the birth of the first stars in the Universe

A group of researchers at has announced what it has termed as “one of the most important events in the history of the Universe.” They managed to look back in time to the era of the first and galaxies , finding no discernible trace matter of heavy elements. A measurement obtained after analyzing the light most distant known quasar, a galactic nucleus over 13 million light years from Earth.

According to Robert Simcoe, MIT:

The birth of the first stars is one of those important moments in the history of the Universe. It happened in the early universe, and were objects only gas and dark matter. This is the time when the began to resemble what it is today. And it’s amazing what happened earlier, it was not so long.

What researchers have found is the matter before the creation of the heavy elements in the Universe. Currently it is accepted that in the minutes after the Big Bang, the protons and neutrons in a nuclear fusion collided to form hydrogen and helium.

As the universe cooled, the merger stopped generating these basic elements, leaving hydrogen as the main constituent of the Universe. The heavier elements like carbon and oxygen, formed when the first stars appeared.

As mentioned, to carry out such a discovery, since MIT was analyzed in light of the most distant known quasar, a galactic nucleus over 13 million light years from Earth that provides a snapshot of the universe just 750 million years after the Big Bang.

The analysis of the quasar light spectrum no evidence of heavy elements in the gas cloud, a finding that suggests that the quasar data occurred at the same time that the first stars in the Universe. According Simcoe:

The first stars form in different places in the universe … not lit simultaneously. But this is when it starts to get interesting.

And is that until now scientists had only been able to observe objects at least 11 billion light years. All these elements showed heavy, suggesting stars that were already abundant at that point. John O’Meara, professor of physics, explained:

Before this result, we have not seen the old universe and regions devoid of heavy elements, so there was a missing link in our understanding of how the elemental content of the universe has evolved over time. Possibly this finding provides that environment so rare in the universe, when the stars were formed.

The researchers took into account all other scenarios that could explain the observed patterns of light, including newborn galaxies and other matter located in front of the quasar. Their efforts finally confirmed that the spectrum of the quasar light indicating an absence of heavy elements 750 million years after the Big Bang.

In the future, other quasars Simcoe analyze expected this early era to further confirm the absence of heavy elements.

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