Scientist finds elusive star with origins close to Big Bang

November 5, 2018, Johns Hopkins University
The new discovery is only 14 percent the size of the sun and is the new record holder for the star with the smallest complement of heavy elements. It has about the same heavy element complement as Mercury, the smallest planet in our solar system. Credit: Kevin Schlaufman/JHU

Astronomers have found what could be one of the universe's oldest stars, a body almost entirely made of materials spewed from the Big Bang.

The discovery of this approximately 13.5 billion-year-old tiny star means more stars with very low mass and very low metal content are likely out there—perhaps even some of the universe's very first stars.

The star is unusual because unlike other stars with very low metal content, it is part of the Milky Way's "thin disk"—the part of the galaxy in which our own sun resides.

And because this star is so old, researchers say it's possible that our galactic neighborhood is at least 3 billion years older than previously thought. The findings are published in The Astrophysical Journal.

"This star is maybe one in 10 million," said lead author Kevin Schlaufman, a Johns Hopkins University assistant professor of physics and astronomy. "It tells us something very important about the first generations of stars."

The universe's first stars after the Big Bang would have consisted entirely of elements like hydrogen, helium, and small amounts of lithium. Those stars then produced elements heavier than helium in their cores and seeded the universe with them when they exploded as supernovae.

The next generation of stars formed from clouds of material laced with those metals, incorporating them into their makeup. The metal content, or metallicity, of stars in the universe increased as the cycle of star birth and death continued.

The newly discovered star system orbits the galaxy on a circular orbit that, like the orbit of the sun, never gets too far from the plane of the galaxy. On the other hand, most ultra metal-poor stars have orbits that take them across the galaxy and far from its plane. Credit: Kevin Schlaufman/JHU

The newly discovered star's extremely low metallicity indicates that, in a cosmic family tree, it could be as little as one generation removed from the Big Bang. Indeed, it is the new record holder for the star with the smallest complement of heavy elements—it has about the same heavy element content as the planet Mercury. In contrast, our sun is thousands of generations down that line and has a heavy element content equal to 14 Jupiters.

Astronomers have found around 30 ancient "ultra metal-poor" stars with the approximate mass of the sun. The star Schlaufman and his team found, however, is only 14 percent the mass of the sun.

The star is part of a two-star system orbiting around a common point. The team found the tiny, almost invisibly faint "secondary" star after another group of astronomers discovered the much brighter "primary" star. That team measured the primary's composition by studying a high-resolution optical spectrum of its light. The presence or absence of dark lines in a star's spectrum can identify the elements it contains, such as carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, iron, and more. In this case, the star had extremely low metallicity. Those astronomers also identified unusual behavior in the star system that implied the presence of a neutron star or black hole. Schlaufman and his team found that to be incorrect, but in doing so, they discovered the visible star's much smaller companion.

The existence of the smaller companion star turned out to be the big discovery. Schlaufman's team was able to infer its mass by studying the primary star's slight "wobble" as the little star's gravity tugged at it.

As recently as the late 1990s, researchers believed that only massive stars could have formed in the earliest stages of the universe—and that they could never be observed because they burn through their fuel and die so quickly.

But as astronomical simulations became more sophisticated, they began to hint that in certain situations, a star from this time period with particularly low mass could still exist, even more than 13 billion years since the Big Bang. Unlike huge stars, low-mass ones can live for exceedingly long times. Red dwarf stars, for instance, with a fraction of the mass of the sun, are thought to live to trillions of years.

The discovery of this new ultra metal-poor star, named 2MASS J18082002-5104378 B, opens up the possibility of observing even older stars.

"If our inference is correct, then low- that have a composition exclusively the outcome of the Big Bang can exist," said Schlaufman, who is also affiliated with the university's Institute for Data Intensive Engineering and Science. "Even though we have not yet found an object like that in our galaxy, it can exist."

Explore further: A rare star opens a window on the beginning of time

More information: Kevin C. Schlaufman et al, An Ultra Metal-poor Star Near the Hydrogen-burning Limit, The Astrophysical Journal (2018). DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/aadd97

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evolve
2.5 / 5 (2) Nov 05, 2018
What is the range of metallicities of all observed stars of the same approximate mass?
someone11235813
5 / 5 (7) Nov 05, 2018
"The universe's first stars after the Big Bang would have consisted entirely of elements *like* hydrogen, helium..."

Like? what is the purpose of the 'like' there's no "like" there's no nothin', the first stars could only be made out of what was available which was H and He, there was nothing else other and some insignificant quantities of trace light elements.
coastaljon
4.3 / 5 (6) Nov 05, 2018
From the abstract (https://arxiv.org....00549):

While theoretical simulations of Population III (Pop III) star formation show that protostellar disks can fragment, it is impossible for those simulations to discern if those fragments survive as low-mass stars. We report the discovery of a low-mass star [...] near the hydrogen burning limit for its composition. [...] The discovery of [the star] confirms the existence of low-mass UMP stars and its short orbital period shows that fragmentation in metal-poor protostellar disks can lead to the formation and survival of low-mass stars.

Nice!
Hyperfuzzy
1 / 5 (9) Nov 05, 2018
Silly Wabbits! Still ain't figured out which direction all the galaxies we see are heading, in an accelerating stream of this magnitude; then , the Big Bang will be upon our arrival; unless, Andromeda Doesn't throw a small sun so! So; what's the plot of Lambda Emitted and measured Period. That gives ya speed; but, from What direction; Think about it. That would be a measure presently ignored? Pretty cool we can find shiny metals. So you publish and quote illogical theory and misinterpret measurements based upon nonsense!
Hyperfuzzy
1 / 5 (9) Nov 05, 2018
Fields don't affect fields, These Fields are immortal and unique. Each Field has a center. We call it charge. Each time the center moves the Field updates lag "apparently" as Lambda/Period; I guess, 'cause what are we measuring? In order for a media to be Lens Like What would be he propagation of the wave and field density function of the media. So it would be a media density function but that's derivable w/ QM; better if you replace quanta with +/1 and Location. and T as Lambda.
Anonym262722
1 / 5 (2) Nov 05, 2018
"a star from this time period with particularly low mass could still exist, even more than 13 billion years since the Big Bang"

The time period from optical distance D=13.5 B ly (with mistaken GR based spacetime interpretation of 13.5 B static yrs ago) was (0.3/0.8)^3/2 times 128 = 30 M dynamic yrs from T4=0 DU bounce compared to the giant proto cluster galaxy at D=13.0 B ly at T4= 128 M yrs. Sounds like an attempt to save BB based Nobel DE interpretation of SN1a data by specifically selecting an outlier sample to support a desired but mistaken outcome based on BB postulate. Why to postulate unverifiable existence (more than 13.8 billion static years since BB) of lightest visible object that sent the recorded visible light only 30 M dynamic yrs after the bounce or assumed 0.3B static yrs after BB? Or even after the DU bounce where this star could represent the lightest gas vs heavy galactic metal spot after T4=0 bounce.
idjyit
3.6 / 5 (7) Nov 06, 2018
Have you actually read the thesis ? you can download it from Cambridge
Even the Hand written parts by Stephen Hawking.

https://www.cam.a...rst-time

Prove it wrong , I dare u :-))
RNP
4.6 / 5 (10) Nov 06, 2018
@evolve
What is the range of metallicities of all observed stars of the same approximate mass?


The star in this study is one of the lowest and has a metallicity only about 1/10,000 (0.01%) of the Sun (open access copy of paper paper here; https://arxiv.org...0549.pdf ).
The highest metallicities tend to be about 5 times that of the Sun.

I hope that answers your question.
billpress11
1 / 5 (5) Nov 06, 2018
This could be just another example of a neutron star where enough of the neutron have decayed to start the fusion process all over again.
Buddyroe
1.3 / 5 (3) Nov 06, 2018
Very interesting, The age determination of the cosmos could be older, And even With curiosity eternal? But critics apply as not possible but even Fred Hoyle entertained this theory.
rrwillsj
3 / 5 (4) Nov 06, 2018
fuzzy is all hype and substance, Just like his imaginary magical fields.

And his sockpuppet annoymousie is just as stupid. These cretins fail to achieve the status of morons!
evolve
3.7 / 5 (6) Nov 06, 2018
@RNP
Thanks for that information. My question was somewhat more specific, however. I wanted to know if stars of similar small mass exhibited the same range of metallicity as is seen across stars of all sizes? For I am wondering if there could be some quirk in the process of smallest viable star formation that might exclude heavier elements even if they are available to the accreting body?
rrwillsj
4.3 / 5 (6) Nov 06, 2018
evolve, please excuse my interjecting. As I understand it, the smaller, cooler stars take much longer to consume their Hydrogen and Helium. I have seen speculation these minor stars could last hundreds of billions of years.

Back to you, RNP. Please feel free to correct me of I am in error. Won't hurt my feelings if you can provide evolve and me with a more accurate explanation.
RNP
4.6 / 5 (9) Nov 06, 2018
@evolve, rrwillsj
I wanted to know if stars of similar small mass exhibited the same range of metallicity as is seen across stars of all sizes?


Three statements;

1) All stars in a star forming region form with the same metallicity and the whole range of masses are produced.

2) The high mass stars evolve and disappear much more quickly than the low mass stars (i.e. rrwillsj is absolutely correct)

3) As galaxies evolve the metallicity of newly formed stars increases.

This means that high mass stars will all generally be high metallicity, while low mass stars can have the full range of metallicities.

P.S. rrwillsj: No need for any apologies.
rhugh1066
1 / 5 (1) Nov 06, 2018
"This could be just another example of a neutron star where enough of the neutron have decayed to start the fusion process all over again."

What about this from billpress 11? I've not heard of this before? Anyone? (Not the lunatic fringe, please). Thanks!
RNP
4.6 / 5 (10) Nov 06, 2018
@rhugh1066
"This could be just another example of a neutron star where enough of the neutron have decayed to start the fusion process all over again."

What about this from billpress 11? I've not heard of this before? Anyone? (Not the lunatic fringe, please). Thanks!

Don't worry. It is just a figment of billpress11's imagination.
evolve
4.6 / 5 (5) Nov 06, 2018
@RNP Your point (1) seems a fundamental assumption behind the theory being presented, but I found no explicit recognition of this fact in the paper. Perhaps it was considered too obvious for words, but since we are so far from knowing what we don't know, assumptions are particularly dangerous.

Among the failed stars of physics academia who troll these sites, concealing their lack of working knowledge with fuzzy, self-pleasuring, important sounding stuff, it is always a pleasure to find a good head. Kudos for taking time to explain.
RNP
4.3 / 5 (6) Nov 06, 2018
@evolve
@RNP Your point (1) seems a fundamental assumption...

Look up the "Initial Mass Function" (IMF) on Google. You will see that it is an assumption well supported by observation.
evolve
4.3 / 5 (3) Nov 06, 2018
@RNP I did some checking. The observed IMF is a distribution function of stellar masses within an accretion cloud. But it does not seem to address metallicity as a function of mass. I will take your word that the percentage of heavier elements in a cloud's primordial stars has been observed to be a constant, not influenced by initial stellar mass; I can't imagine a reason that it would not be, and hope to find some observation data related to this question.
Hyperfuzzy
1 / 5 (2) Nov 06, 2018
Have you actually read the thesis ? you can download it from Cambridge
Even the Hand written parts by Stephen Hawking.

https://www.cam.a...rst-time

Prove it wrong , I dare u :-))

The Math or the or the irreconcilable Theory?
torbjorn_b_g_larsson
3.5 / 5 (8) Nov 06, 2018
Cool, I learned something today, fragmenting disks is the cause - thx coastaljon!

As to Qs:

So the word salad troll seems to be incompetent to understand cosmology, but his putative sock puppet is a not-even-trying creationist? Curious, but others cannot rationally respond, except to point to basic cosmology: read again. Failing that, learnt how to learn; ask a 5 year old how they do it.

This could be just another example of a neutron star


It cannot, the observation is of mundane star spectra.

hope to find some observation data related to this question.


Star clusters AFAIK show stars of various mass but mostly same age and same metallicity due to same molecular cloud origin. (There are some other, rarer and more complicated, cases.)
RNP
4.4 / 5 (7) Nov 07, 2018
@evolve
The observed IMF is a distribution function of stellar masses within an accretion cloud. But it does not seem to address metallicity as a function of mass. .........

and hope to find some observation data related to this question.


Actually,there are small inhomogeneities in metallicity in giant molecular clouds caused by massive stars going supernova and ejecting their chemical elements into the star forming cloud and the associated small-scale turbulence.

So, in fact, metallicities can and do vary within star-forming clouds, but these variations are small compared to the overall metallicities relevant to your original question about metallicity with mass.
RNP
4.2 / 5 (5) Nov 07, 2018
@evolve
The observed IMF is a distribution function of stellar masses within an accretion cloud. But it does not seem to address metallicity as a function of mass. .........

and hope to find some observation data related to this question.


Actually, there *are* small inhomogeneities in metallicity in giant molecular clouds caused by massive stars going supernova and ejecting their chemical elements into the star forming cloud and the associated small-scale turbulence.

So, in fact, metallicities can and do vary within star-forming clouds, but these variations are small compared to the overall metallicities relevant to your original question about metallicity with mass.

RNP
3.9 / 5 (7) Nov 07, 2018
Apologies for the double post
JaxPavan
1.7 / 5 (6) Nov 07, 2018
(1) If C were decreasing by 2 cm/s per year, and

(2j if we assume the energy of any putative photon remains constant at the time it is emitted in any epoch,

then that accounts for the red shift, and there is no Big Bang.

For evidence of (1) see:

"Empirical Evidence for a Varying Speed of Light"
Yves-Henri Sanejouand
Arxiv.0908.0249

//arxiv.org/abs/0908.0249

JaxPavan
1.7 / 5 (6) Nov 07, 2018
@anonym262722 & @hyperfuzzy

Do you have any citations to back up the acronyms and theories you reference. I would be very interested to read up on new theories, particularly given the command-driven boondoggle that we have backing both Big Bang theory, and dark energy matter to save it.

Throw enough money out there and even scientists will tell you what you want to hear. Make it grant money and the scientists will even think they are the ones gaming you. Lol.

Is it all so that monotheism can have its creation event? Just a throwback to the establishment reaction in the days of Copernicus and Galileo? Is that why jesuits invented and pushed the Big Bang theory and the Catholic Church has seemingly uncharacteristically endorsed it?
Hyperfuzzy
1 / 5 (3) Nov 07, 2018
@anonym262722 & @hyperfuzzy

Do you have any citations


Charge Exist; Charge is only the field; The Field is Immortal, Infinite, and is updated apparently at the speed of light relative to the Field center; i.e. Coulomb, Maxwell, all instrumentation, blah blah; Physics, EE101; Logic Theory of Equations; This paper like many others are nonsense! Citations? LOL! Particles do not Exist! Mass? Stop Don't Think! WTF? Newton's Question? Please be Logical and don' believe in magic Newton was mislead w/ alchemy but what creates the field? Frame of mind!
JaxPavan
3.5 / 5 (8) Nov 07, 2018
I was hoping for something with a bit more rigor.
Ojorf
3.5 / 5 (11) Nov 08, 2018
I was hoping for something with a bit more rigor.


There is nothing more.
What Hyperfuzzy said, that's exactly what it is.

Allow me to pare the theory down to it's essence:

Stop Don't Think! WTF?

That's exactly it!
JaxPavan
3.9 / 5 (7) Nov 08, 2018
Thanks I was worried I missed something since grad school.
Ojorf
2.3 / 5 (6) Nov 08, 2018
Don't knock it till you've tried it. Whenever you find yourself thinking... STOP - don't think!
It's a wonderful theory. Simple, elegant, consistent, beautiful.
It lends a certain stability in a seemingly random world. Whatever happens, your response will always remain a familiar and comforting - WTF!!!
Hyperfuzzy
1 / 5 (2) Nov 08, 2018
I was hoping for something with a bit more rigor.

In other words, you don't know and are too persnickety to accept what is known!
Steelwolf
5 / 5 (1) Nov 09, 2018
@ Jax This is a good one:
https://pdfs.sema...f5a0.pdf

Concerns red-shift and different cosmologies required, ideas put forth, but they also have bearing with how metalicity spread over the timeframes, but are generally not accounted for in the curves. Steadystate comes closest.
Buddyroe
not rated yet Nov 09, 2018
New stuff descovered is like....Aliens flying around a short distance. But the destination of new discoveries is comparable to a sector of space within our Galaxy that is more sufficient in exploration. And i don't want to hear you are insane because if can happen on earth it is plausible.

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