The newly-identified star that lies within the yellow box in the image is half the binary. Credit: ESO / BELETSKY…
The newly-identified star that lies within the yellow box in the image is half the binary.
Credit: ESO / BELETSKY / DSS1
+ DSS2 + 2MASS
Astronomers believe they have identified a star that they think is about 13.5 billion years old, which would be born shortly after the storm – and it’s surprisingly close to us .
The new discovery indicates that our own corner of the galaxy may be older than previously estimated, and researchers hope that we study the star, called 2MASS J18082002-5104378 B, can learn more about the universe’s early days.
“This star may be one in 10 million,” said lead author Kevin Schlaufman, an astronomer at Johns Hopkins University, in a release. “It tells us something very important about the first generations of stars.”
It’s also an unusual star when it comes to its path: It is in the thin slab of the milk and remains within the galactic plane as our sun does, rather than to run away from the planet, like most stars without metals.
Such metal stars are highly sought after by astronomers because they formed shortly after the Big Bang before many stars could explode into supernovae and spread heavier elements across the universe. While scientists have identified some handfuls of these incredibly old stars, the new one is identified a lot smaller, with only 14 percent of the sun’s mass. They hope that the new discovery will be the first of many more observations of incredibly old stars.  “If our inference is correct, then low-mass stars that have a composition can only exclude Big Bang’s outcome,” Schlaufman said in the release. “Even if we have not yet found an object in our galaxy, it may exist.”
The new research is described in a paper published November 5 in the Astrophysical Journal.