Emission of key color wavelength points to superhot first generation stars
B. Balick, J. Alexander, A. Hajian, Y. Terzian, M. Perinotto, P. Patriarchi and NASA
GRAPEVINE, TEXAS — Green was all the rage a couple of billion years after the Big Bang.
Galaxies in the early universe blasted out a specific wavelength of green light, researchers reported January 7 at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society. It takes stars much hotter than most stars found in the modern universe to make that light. The finding offers a clue to what the earliest generation of stars might have been like (SN: 10/1/16, p. 25).
Some nearby galaxies and nebulas produce a little bit of this hue today. But these early galaxies, seen as they were roughly 11 billion years ago, produce an overwhelming amount. “Everybody was doing it,” said Matthew Malkan, an astrophysicist at UCLA. “It seems like all galaxies started this way.”