A team of scientists at the Australian National University has discovered the oldest known star in the universe, the Guardian reported.
The heavenly body, formed about 13.6 billion years ago, has allowed astronomers to study the chemistry of the first stars, according to the British daily.
Lead researcher Dr. Stefan Keller of the ANU’s Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics called the finding a “one in a 60 million chance.”
After 11 years of searching, the team discovered the star using the university’s SkyMapper telescope at the Siding Spring Observatory.
The researcher was quoted as saying, “Just by imaging the colours of stars, we can tell which stars are prime candidates of being the oldest.”
The age of a star is determined by the amount of iron it contains. The more iron, the younger the star is.
“In the case of the star we have announced, the amount of iron present is a factor of at least 60 times less than any other star,” the Guardian quoted Keller as saying.
He described the discovery as a “time capsule” offering fundamental insights into the universe and defying earlier beliefs about some of the first stars.
The discovery was published in the latest edition of the scientific journal Nature.
By Ock Hyun-ju, Intern reporter (firstname.lastname@example.org)