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  • richardmitnick 3:22 pm on November 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2MASS J18082002–5104378 B approximately 13.5 billion-year-old tiny star, , , , , , Tiny Old Star Has Huge Impact   

    From Gemini Observatory: “Tiny Old Star Has Huge Impact” 


    Gemini Observatory
    From Gemini Observatory

    November 5th, 2018

    Media Contacts:

    Peter Michaud
    Public Information and Outreach manager
    Gemini Observatory
    Email: pmichaud”at”gemini.edu
    Phone: 808-974-2510
    Cell: 808-936-6643

    Jill Rosen
    Senior Media Relations Representative
    Johns Hopkins University
    Email: jrosen”at”jhu.edu
    Desk: 443-997-9906
    Cell: 443-547-8805

    Science Contact:

    Kevin Schlaufman
    Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy
    Johns Hopkins University
    Email: kschlaufman”at”jhu.edu
    Office Phone: 410-516-3295
    Cell Phone: 814-490-9177

    The new discovery is only 14% the size of the Sun and is the new record holder for the star with the smallest complement of heavy elements. It has about the same heavy element proportion as Mercury, the smallest planet in our solar system. Credit: Kevin Schlaufman.

    Astronomers use the Gemini Observatory to investigate a tiny star that is likely the oldest known star in the disk of our galaxy. The diminutive star could have a disproportionate impact on our understanding of the age and history of our Milky Way Galaxy. It also provides a unique glimpse into the conditions present in the young Universe shortly after the Big Bang.

    A tiny star found in our galactic neighborhood is presenting astronomers with a compelling glimpse into the history of our galaxy and the early Universe. The star has some very interesting characteristics: it’s small, it’s old, and most significantly it’s made of material very similar to that spewed by the Big Bang. To host a star like this suggests that the disk of our galaxy could be up to three billion years older than previously thought.

    “Our Sun likely descended from thousands of generations of short-lived massive stars that have lived and died since the Big Bang,” said Kevin Schlaufman of Johns Hopkins University, leader of this study published in the November 5th issue of The Astrophysical Journal. “However, what’s most interesting about this star is that it had perhaps only one ancestor separating it and the beginnings of everything,” Schlaufman adds.

    The Big Bang theory dates our Universe at about 13.7 billion years and suggests that the first stars were made almost exclusively of hydrogen and helium. As stars die and gradually recycle their materials into new stars, heavier elements formed. Astronomers refer to stars which lack heavier elements as low metallicity stars. “But this one has such low metallicity,” said Schlaufman, “it’s known as an ultra metal poor star – this star may be one in ten million.”

    The star, which goes by the designation 2MASS J18082002-5104378 B, also challenges the assumption that the first stars in the Universe were large, exclusively high-mass and short-lived stars. In addition, its location within the usually active and crowded disk of our galaxy is unexpected.

    2MASS J18082002–5104378 B is a part of a binary star system. It is the smaller companion to a larger low-metallicity star observed in 2014 and 2015 by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope UT2.

    ESO VLT at Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert, •ANTU (UT1; The Sun ),
    •KUEYEN (UT2; The Moon ),
    •MELIPAL (UT3; The Southern Cross ), and
    •YEPUN (UT4; Venus – as evening star).
    elevation 2,635 m (8,645 ft) from above Credit J.L. Dauvergne & G. Hüdepohl atacama photo

    Before the discovery of the tiny star, astronomers mistakenly believed that this binary system might contain a black hole or neutron star. From April 2016 to July 2017, Schlaufman and his team used both the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph (GMOS) on the Gemini South telescope in Chile and the Magellan Clay Telescope at Las Campanas Observatory to dissect the star system’s light and measure the object’s relative motions, thus discovering the tiny star by detecting its gravitational tug on its partner.

    Las Campanas Clay Magellan telescope, located at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory, Chile, approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) northeast of the city of La Serena, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high

    Gemini Observatory GMOS on Gemini South

    “Gemini was critical to this discovery, as its flexible observing modes enabled weekly check-ins on the system over six months,” Schlaufman confirms.

    “Understanding the history of our own galaxy is critical for humanity to understand the broader history of the entire Universe,” said Chris Davis of the United State’s National Science Foundation (NSF). NSF funds the Gemini Observatory on behalf of the United States, additional international partners are listed at the end of this release.

    2MASS J18082002–5104378 B has only about 14% the mass of our Sun making it a red dwarf star. While average-sized stars like our Sun live for approximately 10 billion years before extinguishing their nuclear fuel, low-mass stars can burn for trillions of years.

    “Diminutive stars like these tend to shine for a very long time,” said Schlaufman. “This star has aged well. It looks exactly the same today as it did when it formed 13.5 billion years ago.”

    The discovery of 2MASS J18082002–5104378 B gives astronomers hope for finding more of these old stars which provide a glimpse at the very early Universe. Only about 30 ultra metal poor stars have been identified. “Observations such as these are paving the way to perhaps one day finding that ever elusive first generation star,” concludes Schlaufman.

    See the full article here.
    See also the Monash University article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Gemini/North telescope at Maunakea, Hawaii, USA,4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

    Gemini South telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) campus near La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 7200 feet

    AURA Icon

    Gemini’s mission is to advance our knowledge of the Universe by providing the international Gemini Community with forefront access to the entire sky.

    The Gemini Observatory is an international collaboration with two identical 8-meter telescopes. The Frederick C. Gillett Gemini Telescope is located on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i (Gemini North) and the other telescope on Cerro Pachón in central Chile (Gemini South); together the twin telescopes provide full coverage over both hemispheres of the sky. The telescopes incorporate technologies that allow large, relatively thin mirrors, under active control, to collect and focus both visible and infrared radiation from space.

    The Gemini Observatory provides the astronomical communities in six partner countries with state-of-the-art astronomical facilities that allocate observing time in proportion to each country’s contribution. In addition to financial support, each country also contributes significant scientific and technical resources. The national research agencies that form the Gemini partnership include: the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the Canadian National Research Council (NRC), the Chilean Comisión Nacional de Investigación Cientifica y Tecnológica (CONICYT), the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Argentinean Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva, and the Brazilian Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação. The observatory is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the NSF. The NSF also serves as the executive agency for the international partnership.

  • richardmitnick 12:26 pm on November 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2MASS J18082002–5104378 B approximately 13.5 billion-year-old tiny star, , , , , , Scientists find elusive star with origins close to Big Bang   

    From Monash University: “Scientists find elusive star with origins close to Big Bang” 

    Monash Univrsity bloc

    From Monash University

    05 November 2018

    Silvia Dropulich
    T: +61 3 9902 4513
    M: +61 (0) 0435138743
    E: silvia.dropulich@monash.edu

    Astronomers have found what could be one of the universe’s oldest stars, a body almost entirely made of materials spewed from the Big Bang.

    The discovery of this approximately 13.5 billion-year-old tiny star means more stars with very low mass and very low metal content are likely out there — perhaps even the universe’s very first stars. The star is unusual because unlike other stars with very low metal content, it is part of the Milky Way’s “thin disk” — the part of the galaxy in which the Sun resides. And because this star is so old, researchers say it’s possible that our galactic neighbourhood is at least 3 billion years older than previously thought. The findings were published today in The Astrophysical Journal.

    Co-study author Dr Andrew Casey, a lecturer in the School of Physics and Astronomy at Monash University said the research team had discovered an ancient star unlike any other, which suggests that some of the first stars to form in the university may still exist today. “The findings are significant because for the first time we have been able to show direct evidence that very ancient, low mass stars do exist, and could survive until the present day without destroying themselves,” Dr Casey said.

    Scientists find elusive star, 2MASS J18082002–5104378 B

    Lead author Assistant Professor Kevin Schlaufman, from the Johns Hopkins University Physics and Astronomy Department, said this star may be one in ten million. “It tells us something very important about the first generations of stars,” Assistant Professor Schlaufman said.

    The universe’s first stars after the Big Bang would have consisted entirely of elements like hydrogen, helium, and small amounts of lithium. Those stars produced elements heavier than helium in their cores and seeded the universe with them when they exploded as supernovae. The next generation of stars formed from clouds of material laced with those metals, incorporating them into their makeup. The metal content, or metallicity, of stars in the universe increased as the cycle of star birth and death continued.

    This star’s extremely low metallicity indicates that in a cosmic family tree, it could be as little as one generation removed from the Big Bang. Indeed, it is the new record holder for the star with the smallest complement of heavy elements – about the same heavy element content as the planet Mercury. In contrast, our Sun is around 100,000 generations down that line and has a heavy element content equal to 14 Jupiters. Astronomers have found around 25 ancient, ‘ultra metal-poor’ stars with the approximate mass of the Sun. The star Schlaufman and his team found is only 14 percent the mass of the Sun. They found the tiny, almost invisibly faint “secondary” star after another group of astronomers discovered the much brighter “primary” star and measured its composition by studying a high-resolution optical spectrum of its light. Those astronomers also identified unusual behaviour in the star system that implied the presence of a neutron star or black hole. Schlaufman and his team found that to be incorrect, but in doing so they discovered the visible star’s much smaller companion. The existence of the smaller companion star turned out to be the big discovery. As recently as the late 1990s, researchers believed that only massive stars could have formed in the earliest stages of the universe — and they could never be observed because they burn through their fuel and die so quickly.

    But as astronomical simulations became more sophisticated, they began to hint that in certain situations, a star from this time period with particularly low mass could still exist, even more than 13 billion years since the Big Bang. Unlike huge stars, low-mass ones can live for exceedingly long times. Red dwarf stars, for instance, with a fraction of the mass of the Sun, are thought to live to trillions of years.

    The discovery of this new ultra metal-poor star, named 2MASS J18082002–5104378 B, opens up the possibility of observing even older stars.

    See the full article here .
    See also the Gemini Observatory article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Monash U campus

    Monash University is an Australian public research university based in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 1958, it is the second oldest university in the State of Victoria. Monash is a member of Australia’s Group of Eight and the ASAIHL, and is the only Australian member of the influential M8 Alliance of Academic Health Centers, Universities and National Academies. Monash is one of two Australian universities to be ranked in the The École des Mines de Paris (Mines ParisTech) ranking on the basis of the number of alumni listed among CEOs in the 500 largest worldwide companies. Monash is in the top 20% in teaching, top 10% in international outlook, top 20% in industry income and top 10% in research in the world in 2016.

    Monash enrolls approximately 47,000 undergraduate and 20,000 graduate students, It also has more applicants than any university in the state of Victoria.

    Monash is home to major research facilities, including the Australian Synchrotron, the Monash Science Technology Research and Innovation Precinct (STRIP), the Australian Stem Cell Centre, 100 research centres and 17 co-operative research centres. In 2011, its total revenue was over $2.1 billion, with external research income around $282 million.

    The university has a number of centres, five of which are in Victoria (Clayton, Caulfield, Berwick, Peninsula, and Parkville), one in Malaysia. Monash also has a research and teaching centre in Prato, Italy, a graduate research school in Mumbai, India and a graduate school in Jiangsu Province, China. Since December 2011, Monash has had a global alliance with the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. Monash University courses are also delivered at other locations, including South Africa.

    The Clayton campus contains the Robert Blackwood Hall, named after the university’s founding Chancellor Sir Robert Blackwood and designed by Sir Roy Grounds.

    In 2014, the University ceded its Gippsland campus to Federation University. On 7 March 2016, Monash announced that it would be closing the Berwick campus by 2018.

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