Astronomers in Australia have found the oldest known star in the universe, a discovery that may re-write our understanding of the universe directly following the Big Bang.
The team from Australian National University (ANU) say that the star, located around 6,000 light years away from Earth, is roughly 13.6 billion years old. This means it was formed just a few million years after the Big Bang, thought to have occurred some 13.8 billion years ago.
The discovery of the star, which is located within our own Galaxy, was described by lead researcher Dr Stefan Keller as a "one in a 60 million chance."
"It’s giving us insight into our fundamental place in the universe. What we’re seeing is the origin of where all the material around us that we need to survive came from," Keller told Reuters.
"This is the first time we’ve unambiguously been able to say we’ve got material from the first generation of stars," said Keller. "We’re now going to be able to put that piece of the jigsaw puzzle in its right place.”
The star, which has been given the unwieldy catalogue reference of SMSS J 031300.36-670839.3, is thought to have been formed in the wake of a primordial supernova. Key to determining its age was an analysis of its iron content. …
It may not be the God star, but we are getting closer.