The Primordial Star at the Edge of the Milky Way that Shouldn't Exist --Challenges Theories of Star Formation
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December 29, 2012

The Primordial Star at the Edge of the Milky Way that Shouldn't Exist --Challenges Theories of Star Formation

 

 

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A primordial star at the outer edges of our Milky Way galaxy upsets current theories of star formation in the universe. The star simply shouldn't exist since it lacks the materials astronomers have long thought necessary for low-mass stars to form, scientists say. When Lorenzo Monaco of the European Southern Observatory in Chile and colleagues examined the elemental composition of the oddball star, prosaically named SDSS J102915+172927 (image below), they discovered that it has a mass smaller than that of the Sun, and is probably more than 13 billion years old.

"This star has the composition that is the nearest that has been found up to now to the big bang composition," says Piercarlo Bonifacio of the Paris Observatory, France.

The low concentration of chemical elements heavier than hydrogen and helium suggests it is the most primitive star ever discovered, yet the exact ratio of these heavier elements suggests it is younger. Much, much younger.

"In some sense it is a perfectly normal star, but it is different because it's in a very low metal range," Monaco says. The relationship between a star's age and its elemental composition stems from the way the early universe evolved.

The first stars are thought to have condensed out of the hot soup left over from the big bang and contained only hydrogen, helium and a trace of lithium. Most were giants tens of times more massive than the sun, that quickly exploded as supernovas spewing elements from carbon to iron, which subsequent generations of stars incorporated. The process occurred again and again, with younger generations of smaller stars acquiring larger fractions of heavier elements. Which is how our Sun eventually formed.

Until now, the universe seemed to agree. Astronomers had found only three stars with very low amounts of heavier elements. They were low-mass, and oxygen and carbon dominated the traces of heavier elements, which meant they passed the carbon-oxygen threshold needed to form a low-mass star – despite having a very low concentration of heavier elements overall.

But SDSS J102915+172927 is different and a mystery: it's composed almost entirely hydrogen and helium, making it look like one of the very first in the universe. When Monaco and colleagues used two spectrographs at the Very Large Telescope in Chile to examined its elemental composition, they found it had the lowest content of heavier elements ever seen yet – 4.5 millionths that of the sun.

But similar to modern stars, its oxygen and carbon levels do not dominate over the other heavier elements. This means there is not enough carbon and oxygen overall to meet the critical threshold needed to form a low-mass star. According to the theory, this star should not have been able to form. One theory is that that the star is indeed near-primordial and that its nursery was cooled interstellar dust rather than carbon and oxygen.

It's also possible that low-mass, low-metal stars like this one could be detritus from giant stars' birth, suggests Abraham Loeb of Harvard University according to New Scientist.

 

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The Daily Galaxy via ESO

Image credit at top of page: With thanks to Corbis

Comments

What If advanced civilization can prevent a star from stacking heavy elements, and this way prevent it from getting supernova at some point ?

Did someone consider that this is actually directly in symphony with advanced civilization on stage 2+. :)

THE MODERN OUT OF ORDER COSMOLOGY

“A primordial star at the outer edges of our Milky Way galaxy upsets current theories of star formation in the universe. The star simply shouldn't exist since it lacks the materials astronomers have long thought necessary for low-mass stars to form”, scientists say.

"In some sense it is a perfectly normal star, but it is different because it's in a very low metal range," Monaco says. The relationship between a star's age and its elemental composition stems from the way the early universe evolved.

AD: In EVERY sense the star of course is perfectly normal! It is the star formation consensus idea and its supposed connection to a “Big Bang” that is totally abnormal. New stars are constantly being formatted all over in cosmos, so formation of stars cannot be connected to any specific ages at all.

- All kind of stars can be found all over in the cosmic arena. It all depends on which gaseous and particle compositions a specific molecular cloud contains when the cloud is going into the formational stages.

Instead of claiming stars and other cosmic formation and movement to be “out of order”, the scientists should instead discard their “cosmological out of order” ideas. The movements in the Universe are cyclical and everything undergoes eternal formation and dissolution. And it all is governed by electric forces and magnetic circuits – so “the out of order gravity” can also be completely discarded as well.

Just shows, what we think we know is must a fraction of what is to be learned.

As usual, when its space related, it reads: OK, even though we know everything as a fact about stars and space, this 1 tiny part has us confused until we all agree we figured it out (without any real proof other than its our best guess).

It seems as though every week there's something showing how much the scientific community thought it knew that it actually doesn't. Sometimes these are things that have been "known" for years, with considerable evidence to support it, that turned out to be wrong.

And yet, those in the community, and those who listen to it as though it knows everything, continue to hold to certain "facts" with little to no real evidence.

Yes, I'm speaking of Intelligent Design here -- Creationism, if you will. So many fans of Randomism dismiss it as (to combine a few descriptions here) "superstitious, religious claptrap invented by primitive rubes to explain what they don't understand." Never mind the copious eyewitness accounts of supernatural events; they didn't really happen, which we "know" because they're impossible!

Well, this star is impossible. Do we deny its existence because it violates our preconceived ideas?

The first step in the scientific process is to keep an open mind about the results. This star shows that even an answer with copious evidence can be wrong; to assume an answer with thin evidence is simply foolish.

I'm curious how this article different from the one ran by Space.com a 16 months ago... is there something new here to discuss?

August 2011:
http://www.space.com/12788-impossible-star-defies-theory.html

@David,

Quote from your linked article:

"After the Big Bang, thought to give rise to our universe, space was awash in hydrogen and helium, with traces of lithium. The first stars that formed created heavier elements (called "metals" by astronomers) through nuclear fusion burning in their cores.

Then, the violent, explosive deaths of the first generation spread elements such as carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen across the universe, seeding it for the longer-lasting stars we see today.

Using simulations and observations of other low-mass stars, astronomers have determined the minimum levels of various elements so that a star has enough mass to pull together under gravity, but the composition of the primordial star weighs in far below those numbers" end of quote.

AD: Here, both the Big Bang theory and the gravity theory are directly contradicted by the discovery of "the impossible star" and the scientists should have questioned their theories instead of adding epicycles to epicycles of additional theories.

Not even directly observations are apparently enough to make the scientists change their minds and go back to the drawing table. The very same happened also when the ”galactic rotation anomaly” was discovered. Instead of getting rid of the mental darkened cosmological gravity-spot in their minds and rethink the theories, the invented dark matter in order to make cosmos to fit with their theories.

This is not accordingly to the scientific methods at all – it is more like a religious dogma.

"The relationship between a star's age and its elemental composition stems from the way the early universe evolved." Or, maybe one could say, the way scientists of a certain world-reigning persuasion, believe it "evolved".

Hydrogen-Helium giants of the Cosmic dawn, manufacturing the "heavier elements" necessary for the eventual nebular formation of future star-orbiting planet systems?

"Until now, the universe seemed to agree."

Well, maybe the Universe disagrees with man's insistence that it "evolved". Maybe it is telling us, through a silent celestial "voice" night after night, that it did not "evolve". And so, evolution-based theories of the how and "why" - the origin of things - are fated to the shredder of unedited Science.

Wow... some really intelligent comments here. How refreshing.

I have always been so annoyed and disgusted with the pompous conceit with which scientists tout their "theories", and the foolishness with which they claim them as fact when they are nothing of the sort.

Science has come a long way, and a lot of modern sciences theories have been proven correct. But far more often than not, scientists are put in their place by reminders that their theories are simply that: unproven best guesses based on best guesses based on best guesses.

So many of science's theories (touted as FACT by the scientific community) are based in large part on other theories, which, in turn, are based on theories... and so on and so forth. That is not scientific, that's foolishness; certainly not foolishness to present and work off of the guess, but beyond foolish to tout as scientific fact.

Isn't it ironic that scientists are some of the most intelligent, knowledgeable people in existence... and yet equally some of the most foolish?


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