A vast star located at roughly sixteen thousand light-years away seems to be part of the second generation of stars in the known Universe.
An analysis of its chemical abundances concluded that it appears to include elements that are byproducts of the life and death of just a lone first-generation star.
Therefore, with the new research, we may have been witnesses to discovering the first generation of stars ever born – neither of which have been discovered to date.
Plus, the scientists analyzed the stars via photometry. That method involves measuring light intensity, thus returning a new way to find other, similar ancient objects.
“We report the discovery of SPLUS J210428.01−004934.2 (hereafter SPLUS J2104−0049), an ultra-metal-poor star selected from its narrow-band S-PLUS photometry and confirmed by medium- and high-resolution spectroscopy,” reads an extract from the paper.
The study also explains how the proof-of-concept observations are part of a persistent attempt to spectroscopically confirm low-metallicity candidates discovered via narrow-band photometry.
Though we feel like we have a decent understanding of how the Universe evolved from the Big Bang to the star-stubbed beauty that we know, the first stars to shine in the darkness at the start, called Population III stars, are still somewhat of a mystery.
Current day star-formation processes provided us clues regarding how the early stars came together, but until scientists find out about them, we will have to rely on incomplete information.
Some stars are identifiable thanks to their low abundance of elements like iron, oxygen, carbon, lithium, and magnesium. They are found by analyzing the spectrum of light from the star, which has chemical traces of the elements embedded.