Chemical signature of first-generation star found

Some of the very first stars, seen in an artist’s rendition of a stellar birth cluster, might have been very massive. When the massive stars exploded, they would have sprinkled their neighbors with a unique blend of elements such as carbon, magnesium and iron.

National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

The chemical footprint of one of the first stars in the universe might be lurking in a nearby star. The star appears to have been polluted by the explosion of another star more than 100 times as massive as the sun, researchers report in the Aug. 22 Science.

Astronomers think that such massive stars might have been among the first generation of stars in the universe. If the nearby star, located in the direction of the constellation Cetus about 1,000 light-years away, witnessed a long-ago supernova, then it could provide a link to the first stars and the early universe.

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