Astronomers have announced they have succeeded in making a discovery that is “really cool” and could lead to new understanding of the formation of our galaxy, but some are sceptical.
The discovery of a group of stars with the same chemical signature as those found during the “big bang” of the Universe has been hailed as “historic” by some astronomers.
The star is called C-13, after the Latin word for “big” – it is one of four known C-type stars discovered by the University of Oxford’s Astronomical Observation and Tomography (AOT) project.
A team of astronomers from Oxford, Cambridge, Newcastle, Liverpool, and the University at Buffalo have confirmed the existence of the new group of star-like objects, dubbed C-17 or “C-17” by their team.
“It’s amazing, really,” said the University’s James Fennell, who led the study published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
“I think it’s the biggest discovery ever made.”
The researchers looked at data collected from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy (ICRA), a collaboration of European institutions including Oxford and Cambridge.
The team of experts analysed data collected by astronomers from around the world, including the Hubble Space Telescope, to search for the chemical signatures of stars that had formed during the massive star’s explosion, or supernova.
“This discovery is really cool,” said Fennelle.
“The stars we found are so different in chemical makeup that we don’t know how they formed.”
The new discovery has significant implications for understanding how galaxies formed and evolved.
It has the potential to reveal the nature of the stars that formed in the first moments of the Big Bang, and perhaps even provide clues to the origin of the universe.
The astronomers say the new C-15 stars are “supercool” and “superfancy”, with a mass of more than 20 solar masses.
“They’re like supercool helium balloons,” said Michael Murchison of Oxford University, who was not involved in the study.
“These are the kinds of things you’d want to put in a rocket for a mission.”
Murchion told Business Insider that the discovery could lead us to new ideas on the formation and evolution of stars.
“If you think about what’s happening in our Milky Way right now, these supercool stars are coming from an event that’s been very slow in the past,” he said.
Maira Macdonald, who works on astronomy at the University in Buffalo, told Business Email that the results of the study are “really exciting”. “
And we’re going to find out which ones are supercool and which ones aren’t.”
Maira Macdonald, who works on astronomy at the University in Buffalo, told Business Email that the results of the study are “really exciting”.
“This is the first time that we have found the signatures of these super-cooled star-forming stars in a super-massive black hole,” she said.
Macdonald also said that the team’s findings would give us new insight into how galaxies form.
“Now, we can actually see these superfancy stars and understand what the evolution of galaxies is,” she added.
“There are a number of ideas that we’ve heard, but these results are really exciting.”
The scientists who discovered the stars say they expect the results to have a huge impact on the search for planets orbiting other stars in the Milky Way.
“Our results are going to be used to search to see if other stars are forming similar stars and are orbiting planets around other stars, and to find new super-giant stars,” said Macdonald.
“You have to look for these super cool, superfanciful, supercool, super-fancifully-fancy supercool supercool star-formers in the vicinity of other super-solar stars.”
The more of these stars that form around other supermassive black holes, the more planets that can be found, and then the more astronomers can start to study these supergiant black holes.