Australians discover oldest star in the universe

Canberra: Astronomers at the Australian National University (ANU) have discovered the oldest known star in the universe, the university press release said Monday.

This Space Telescope Science Institute image shows a star discovered to be the oldest ever found, by Dr. Stefan Keller with the SkyMapper telescope at the Siding Spring Observatory near Coonabarabran, New South Wales, Australia. Pic: AFP PHOTO/ SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE

The discovery has allowed astronomers for the first time to study the chemistry of the first stars, giving scientists a clearer idea of what the universe was like in its infancy, Xinhua reported.

"This is the first time that we've been able to unambiguously say that we've found the chemical fingerprint of a first star," said lead researcher, Stefan Keller of the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

"This is one of the first steps in understanding what those first stars were like. What this star has enabled us to do is record the fingerprint of those first stars."

The star, which formed shortly after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago, was discovered using the ANU SkyMapper telescope at the Siding Spring Observatory.

The observatory is searching for ancient stars as it conducts a five-year project to produce the first digital map of the sky.

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