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Earliest Evidence For Stars Smashes Hubble’s Record And Points To Dark Matter

8 Mar 2018, 15:01 UTC
Earliest Evidence For Stars Smashes Hubble’s Record And Points To Dark Matter NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC)

In the quest to understand our Universe, and the story of where we come from on a cosmic scale, two of the most important questions are what the Universe is made of and how the first stars formed. These are related questions, since you can only form stars if you have enough matter to gravitationally collapse, and even at that, the matter needs to be dense enough and cool enough for this process to work. The earliest stars we’ve ever detected directly come from the Hubble Space Telescope’s imaging of the ultra-distant galaxy GN-z11, whose light comes to us from when the Universe was just 400 million years old: 3% of its current age. Today, after two years of careful analysis, a study from Judd D. Bowman and collaborators was published in Nature, announcing an indirect detection of starlight from when the Universe was only 180 million years old, where the details support the existence and presence of dark matter.

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