Universe’s Oldest Stars Found ‘Going The Wrong Way’

Monday, May 20, 2024
by Jess Thomson

Three of the oldest stars in our universe have been discovered, and they were lurking right under our noses this whole time, and traveling in the wrong direction

The heavenly bodies were detected by MIT researchers in the “halo” of stars that surrounds the distant edge of our Milky Way galaxy, and are thought to have formed between 12 and 13 billion years ago, according to a new paper in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

“Interestingly they’re all quite fast—hundreds of kilometers per second, going the wrong way,” study co-author Anna Frebel, an MIT professor of physics, said in a statement. “They’re on the run! We don’t know why that’s the case,”

The universe itself is thought to be around 13.8 billion years old, and our own sun is only 4.6 billion years old, making these stars some of the oldest in the cosmos. These stars, dubbed SASS (Small Accreted Stellar System stars), are suspected to have been born when the very first galaxies in the universe were forming, with each belonging to its own small primordial galaxy.

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