July 18, 2005 | David F. Coppedge

First-Generation Star Claim Discounted

e first generation of stars, made of pure hydrogen, might have been detected, are now shown to be erroneous (this is an update on the 04/24/2003 entry).  Iwamoto et al. in Science1 have shown that the two hyper-metal-poor stars are actually second-generation stars, seeded with heavy elements by supernovae.
    Timothy C. Beers (Michigan State), writing in the same issue of Science,2 said that astronomers have been looking for these first-generation stars for 50 years.  Theoretically there could not have been anything but hydrogen and helium in the first generation of stars, but all seen thus far contain heavier elements (“metals”) that indicate an earlier generation must have existed, produced the heavy elements from supernova explosions, then seasoned the dust and gas with these elements which later collapsed to form new stars.  Beers hopes new observations will “form the basis for assembling the ‘story of creation’ of the elements that were eventually incorporated into all of us.”


1Iwamoto et al., “The First Chemical Enrichment in the Universe and the Formation of Hyper Metal-Poor Stars,” Science, Vol 309, Issue 5733, 451-453, 15 July 2005, [DOI: 10.1126/science.1112997].
2Timothy C. Beers, “The First Generations of Stars,” Science, Vol 309, Issue 5733, 390-391 , 15 July 2005, [DOI: 10.1126/science.1114671].

The story of creation is in your hotel room drawer.  Starstuff is just stuff, but it takes a mind to know one (see 07/15/2005 entry).

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Categories: Cosmology

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