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Astronomers Find Metal-Poor Stars Near The Center Of The Milky Way Are Oldest Stars In The Galaxy

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Astronomers have recently discovered what may possibly be the most ancient stars in the Milky Way, which can be spotted at the galaxy's bulge or central region.

Experts, who used the Australian National University (ANU) SkyMapper telescope, believe that these are incredibly metal-poor stars. Metals are elements which happen to be heavier than helium.

These stars were already around when the universe was merely 200 million years of age and prior to the time the Milky Way Galaxy was shaped.

Louise Howes, the lead author of the study, revealed that these pristine stars are probably the oldest living stars in the universe. She added that these are so far the most ancient they've witnessed.

"These stars formed before the Milky Way and the galaxy formed around them," mentioned Howes.

Howes carried out the study as part of her PhD at the Australian National University.

Scientists are convinced that the newly found stars included materials from an earlier star that perished in an explosion referred to as hypernova.

Howes said that these aged stars have low levels of carbon, iron and other heavy materials, implying that the first stars might possibly not have exploded as a typical supernova.

"Perhaps they ended their lives as [hypernova]," stated Howes.

Howes further discussed that a hypernova is a unique type of supernova, generating around 10 times as much energy as a normal supernova.

Professor Martin Asplund, currently the project leader at ANU's Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, said hte ANU SkyMapper telescope has the ability to identify distinctive colors of what he calls "anaemic stars," or those stars which have only very little iron.

The study can be accessed through the journal Nature.

"We confirm that most of the metal-poor bulge stars are on tight orbits around the Galactic Centre, rather than being halo stars passing through the bulge, as expected for stars formed at redshifts greater than 15," reads the abstract of the study.

The study reports the astronomers' observations of extremely metal-poor stars spotted in the central region of Milky Way.

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