11712How The First Stars In The Universe Came Into Existence
- Aug 1, 2008URL to an article in Science Daily News describing how the first stars may
have come into existence
First few paragraphs
"ScienceDaily (Aug. 1, 2008) — Researchers believe that our universe began
with the Big Bang about 13 billion years ago, and that soon after that event,
matter began to form as small dust grains and gases.
_Space & Time_ (http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/space_time/)
* _Stars_ (http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/space_time/stars/)
* _Cosmology_ (http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/space_time/cosmology/)
* _Big Bang_ (http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/space_time/big_bang/)
* _Extrasolar Planets_
* _Galaxies_ (http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/space_time/galaxies/)
* _Supergiant_ (http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/s/supergiant.htm)
* _Star cluster_
* _Orion Nebula_
How the first stars formed from this dust and gas has been a burning question
for years, but a state-of-the-art computer simulation now offers the most
detailed picture yet of how these first stars in the universe came into
existence, researchers say.
The composition of the early universe was quite different from that of today,
and the physics that governed the early universe were also somewhat simpler.
Dr. Naoki Yoshida and colleagues in Japan and the U.S. incorporated these
conditions of the early universe, sometimes referred to as the "cosmic dark
ages," to simulate the formation of an astronomical object that would eventually
shine its light into this darkness.
The result is a detailed description of the formation of a protostar -- the
early stage of a massive primordial star of our universe -- and the
researchers' computer simulation, which has been called a "cosmic Rosetta Stone," sets
the bar for further investigation into the star formation process. The
question of how the first stars evolved is so important because their formations
and eventual explosions provided the seeds for subsequent stars to come into
According to their simulation, gravity acted on minute density variations in
matter, gases, and the mysterious "dark matter" of the universe after the Big
Bang in order to form this early stage of a star -- a protostar with a mass
of just one percent of our sun. The simulation reveals how pre-stellar gases
would have actually evolved under the simpler physics of the early universe
to form this protostar. Dr. Yoshida's simulation also shows that the protostar
would likely evolve into a massive star capable of synthesizing heavy
elements, not just in later generations of stars, but soon after the Big Bang.
"This general picture of star formation, and the ability to compare how
stellar objects form in different time periods and regions of the universe, will
eventually allow investigation into the origins of life and planets," said
Lars Hernquist, a Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University and a co-author
of this latest report. "The abundance of elements in the universe has
increased as stars have accumulated," he says, "and the formation and destruction of
stars continues to spread these elements further across the universe. So when
you think about it, all of the elements in our bodies originally formed from
nuclear reactions in the centers of stars, long ago."
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