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2015-06-17. Traces of Earliest Stars That Enriched Cosmos Are Spied.

posted Jun 18, 2015, 7:53 AM by Alan Gould
By Dennis Overbye, New York Times. For GSS A Changing Cosmos chapters 3, 6, 9. Excerpt: Astronomers said Wednesday that they had discovered a lost generation of monster stars that ushered light into the universe after the Big Bang and jump-started the creation of the elements needed for planets and life before disappearing forever. ...in the aftermath of the Big Bang only hydrogen, helium and small traces of lithium were available to make the first stars. Such stars could have been hundreds or thousands of times as massive as the sun, according to calculations, burning brightly and dying quickly, only 200 million years after the universe began. Their explosions would have spewed into space the elements that started the chain of thermonuclear reactions by which subsequent generations of stars have gradually enriched the cosmos with elements like oxygen, carbon and iron. ...in a paper to be published in The Astrophysical Journal, an international crew of astronomers led by David Sobral of the University of Lisbon, in Portugal, and the Leiden Observatory, in the Netherlands, said they had spotted the signature of these first-generation stars in a recently discovered galaxy that existed when the universe was only about 800 million years old. ...The galaxy, known as CR7, is three times as luminous as any previously found from that time, the authors said. Within it is a bright blue cloud that seems to contain only hydrogen and helium.... http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/18/science/space/astronomers-report-finding-earliest-stars-that-enriched-cosmos.html