Scientists have finally discovered when the first stars in our Universe began shining.
Observing the systems over 70 hours with four different ground-based telescopes — the Atacama Large Millimetre Array, the Very Large Telescope, the Gemini South Telescope, and the twin Keck telescopes — astronomers managed to calculate exactly how far away these galaxies were, a measurement that can then be translated to find the age of them as light takes time to travel across the Universe to reach Earth.
The study concluded that they were observing these galaxies when the Universe was 550 million years old, allowing them to estimate that the first stars began shining roughly 250 to 350 million years after the Big Bang, a period known as the cosmic dawn. The findings also point out that these galaxies will be bright enough to be observed by the James Webb Space Telescope, which is set to launch later this year.
“The Holy Grail has been to look back far enough that you would be able to see the very first generation of stars and galaxies,” University College London’s Professor Richard Ellis remarked. “And now we have the first convincing evidence of when the Universe was first bathed in starlight.”
In other science-related news, researchers at the University of Edinburgh have managed to upcycle plastic into vanilla flavoring.