Earliest stars were formed when the age of the Universe was…

Recently, scientists from MIT published a research paper in the journal Nature in which they showed their work of “Extremely metal-poor gas at a redshift of 7”. They utilized infrared spectrometer, which they placed onto the Magellan Telescope, a massive ground-based telescope in Chile. They calculated the elements and based on the observations about the heavy elements they believe that the earliest stars might have been formed 750 million years after the formation of Universe. quasar 3C 279. Image: European Southern Observatory “The first stars will form in different spots in the universe … it’s not like they flashed on at the same time,” Robert Simcoe, an associate professor of physics at MIT, said in a statement. “But this is the time that it starts getting interesting.” In another study published recently in the journal Science, researchers were able to study the light from the stars that are just 0.6 billion years old.

Mark A. Holland, who is BS, Engineering Physics at Universitry of Maine, Orono, ME, and worked in BAE Systems, The MITRE Corporation and Operations Research, Inc., and one of the respected readers of SayPeople.com, has commented and pointed to another time of the earliest formation of stars that is very much less than the present finding. He said,

I thought the Hubble Space Telescope had detected a galaxy (UDFj-39546284) with a red-shift of about 10 back in 2009 or 2010. That would mean that not only had stars formed, but entire galaxies had organized by about 480 million years after the Big Bang. When the James Webb Space Telescope comes on-line, we will be able to look a lot further back in time, and I expect we will find that stars were shining even then. There is a good summary article on the discovery of UDFj-39546284 on the Space Telescope website (http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/heic1103/). Cornell University’s website also has the abstract of a paper by R. J. Bouwens (Leiden), P. A. Oesch (UCSC), et. al. on the work performed to confirm the Hubble Ultra Deep Field — Infrared (HUDF-IR) observations (see http://arxiv.org/abs/1211.3105).

Another interesting point is the most distant object recently found by NASA using Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes. That is the most distant galaxy ever found and it is named is MACS0647-JD. This galaxy is found to be the youngest object found in the universe i.e. it’s age is thought to be about 420 million years. This finding can show that the earliest stars were there after 420 million years of the formation of the universe.

In another interesting research, scientists have proposed a mechanism through which they simulated “the distribution of the first stars at redshift 20 (cosmic age of around 180 million years)”. They have based their research on the moving speed of the stars and the influence of the radiation from the earliest stars on the older stars.


Visbal, E., Barkana, R., Fialkov, A., Tseliakhovich, D., & Hirata, C. (2012). The signature of the first stars in atomic hydrogen at redshift 20 Nature DOI: 10.1038/nature11177

S., Caliandro, et. al. (2012). Binary Millisecond Pulsar Discovery via Gamma-Ray Pulsations Science, 338 (6112), 1314-1317 DOI: 10.1126/science.1229054

Ackermann, M., et. al. (2012). The Imprint of the Extragalactic Background Light in the Gamma-Ray Spectra of Blazars Science, 338 (6111), 1190-1192 DOI: 10.1126/science.1227160

Simcoe, R., Sullivan, P., Cooksey, K., Kao, M., Matejek, M., & Burgasser, A. (2012). Extremely metal-poor gas at a redshift of 7 Nature, 492 (7427), 79-82 DOI: 10.1038/nature11612


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  • This observation is consistent with models of the early universe. The first stars, or first generation stars, would be expected to be metal poor as they would form from only hydrogen and helium. Later generations formed from debris of early supernovae would contain heavier elements created by nucleosynthesis of the first generation.