Astronomers spot earliest starlight

Astronomers have spotted the faint glow of what they believe to be the very first stars created in the universe.
They used Nasa’s Spitzer space telescope to discover the earliest objects that formed after the Big Bang.
They are so far away that the light from the stars has taken more that 13 BILLION YEARS to reach us – and the stars themselves no longer exist.
Scientists say the light is from giant stars that burned brilliantly or hot gas falling into the very first black holes.
The astronomers pointed the telescope at the constellation of Draco the dragon and had to open their “camera shutter” for TEN HOURS to record the faint starlight.
Their leader, Dr Alexander Kashlinsky, from Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Centre at Greenbelt, Maryland, said it was like seeing the glow of a distant city at night from an aircraft.
He added: “These were the first objects to form in the universe. The stars disappeared eons ago, yet their light is still travelling across the universe.”
Scientists say the first stars were more than a hundred times more
massive than the sun and extremely hot and bright – but they burned for only a few million years.

Caption: The top half of the picture shows the area of Draco imaged by Spitzer and the bottom half is with the stars and galaxies removed and the remaining faint glow. Credit: NASA.

Paul Sutherland

Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.
Paul Sutherland

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Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.

One thought on “Astronomers spot earliest starlight

  • 03/04/2016 at 6:09 pm
    Permalink

    wow 13 billion years wow! to reach eart

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