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Astronomers find three of the oldest stars in the universe

Researchers from MIT (Massachets Institute of Technology) found three of the older stars of the universe in the cloud that surrounds the Milky Way. It was discovered that they formed from 12 to 13 billion from years ago, when the first galaxies were forming.

Using this data, astronomers can advance research into small, dimly luminous galaxies, which are believed to be the first in the universe. “Now we can look for analogues in the Milky Way, which are much brighter, and study their chemical evolution without having to look for these smaller stars,” says Anna Frebel, an MIT physics professor who coordinated the study.

The stars were named “Sass”, an acronym for Small Aggregate Stellar System. Researchers believe that each star once had its own galaxy, which was occasionally absorbed by the larger and growing Milky Way.

To find them, it was observed that they have a different orbit than the rest of the bodies that are in the halo, a disk of stars that surrounds our galaxy. Furthermore, its composition has a low concentration of the chemical elements strontium and barium, similar to the universe when it was being formed.

The group of researchers intends to use the method developed in this study to find more of these stars that formed shortly after the Big Bang — which happened 13.8 billion years ago.

Among the 400 billion stars that exist in the Milky Way, it is expected that a few — but significant ones — will be discovered as the oldest in the universe and help in the understanding of small and dimly luminous galaxies.

Source: CNN Brasil

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