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News Picks : Unusual star may be evidence of predicted supermassive first stars

By: Physics Today
Fri Aug 22 16:05:00 UTC 2014

Nature: Simulations of the earliest stars in the universe predict that they had masses of more than 100 Suns and lived for just a few million years before exploding as supernovae. Because of their mass, the supernovae were unusually powerful and created larger quantities of heavy elements, such as iron, than of lighter elements, such as carbon, magnesium, and calcium. Wako Aoki of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and his colleagues have found a star whose chemical makeup appears to reflect the predicted remnants of the earliest stars. It may be that this star is one of the second generation of stars—small, slow burning, and 13 billion years old. However, the star's composition does not exactly match the predictions. Aoki's team is already looking for other similar stars to determine if they are actually evidence of the existence of the supermassive first stars.

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