Japanese researchers have discovered a number of the earliest stars that emerged in the Universe, just 250 million years after the Big Bang, as reported in a study issued by Nature journal. Based on data gathered by the huge Chilean ALMA telescope, scientists have sighted the faraway galaxy MACS1149-JD1 which formed 550 million years ago. At the time of the observation, the Japanese researchers noticed that this galaxy housed numerous 300 million years old stars.
The “redshift” of the galaxy, a measurement that establishes the age and distance of a space object, was 9.1096 units, the biggest value obtained so far from the study of spectral lines, as revealed by the report for this study.
Scientists have determined this measurement based on lines in the ionized oxygen spectra, rather than employing ionized carbon, which is more commonly used when scanning faraway space objects.
Earliest stars in the Universe formed just 250 million years after the Big Bang
“These results demonstrate the ability of ALMA as a tool to measure the redshift of distant galaxies,” says Richard Bouwens, of the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, in the paper issued in the Nature journal.
The study conducted by Takuya Hashimoto and his staff from the Osaka Sangyo University provides insight into the formation process of early stars and also indicates that upcoming space telescopes like the James Webb, that will substitute Hubble in orbit in early 2020, are likely to provide new insights into early star formation, says Bouwens.
Researchers think that the earliest stars in the Universe were built in areas with a very high density of matter, even though comprehension of this phenomenon is not yet well-defined.
Bowens points out that it is still uncertain if the star activity observed in MACS1149-JD1 also took place in different parts of the early Universe but he claims that the finding “will certainly boost similar studies of other galaxies”.
In the meantime, the discovery that the earliest stars in the Universe formed only 250 million after the Big Bang remains a stunning one.