With some hard work from the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, operated by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), humankind may be one step close in figuring out how our Universe was formed. Researchers came across three distant gas clouds which appeared to have a very similar chemical composition that was seen in the first stellar explosions.
In a study published in the Astrophysical Journal, a team led by Andrea Saccardi, Ph.D. a student at the Paris Observatory (PSL) explains his findings. Due to the chemical composition, the team was able to determine that these distant gas clouds probably formed when the universe was only 10-15% of its current age.
Scientists believe that the very first stars, which appeared 13.5 billion years ago, were composed entirely of hydrogen and helium. These giant stars eventually exploded, enriching the surrounding gas with heavier elements. The new stars born in this environment took on more complex elements, eventually becoming the stars we are familiar with today.
By comparing the chemical composition of a gas cloud, scientists can determine its age. Researchers tried to look for gas clouds which doesn't contain heavy elements like iron. This heavy metal, found in the cores of stars, was not ejected in the earliest supernovae, which were much weaker. In these three distant gas clouds, the researchers found exactly what they were looking for.
“For the primary time ever, we have been capable of pick out the chemical strains of the explosions of the primary stars in very remote fueloline clouds,” stocks Saccardi.
How they got here to find out the chemical make-up of the clouds is pretty interesting, and all boils right all the way down to mild. They used very shiny re-assets powered with the aid of using supermassive black holes on the facilities of far off galaxies as beacons of mild. Known as quasars, while their mild travels thru the universe, it travels thru the fueloline clouds. The chemical compounds in those clouds imprint onto the mild, that could then be studied with the aid of using scientists.
Using a tool called the X-Shooter, they can split light into different wavelengths and colors. They can then use this to study the chemical composition of the clouds. With this study, the researchers are paving the way for studying the early evolution of stars.
Valentina D'Odorico, a researcher at the National Institute of Astrophysics in Italy and co-author the study concluded, "With the help of ANDES in the ELT, we will be able to study many of these noble gas clouds in more detail and eventually unravel the mysterious nature of the first stars."