A star hides inside a star

Just when you thought story-telling in astronomy and cosmology had reached its peak we read an even more bizarre story.1,2 It is nothing more than extreme special pleading that the big-bang-believing astronomers must engage in to maintain their story.

The Milky Way. (Credit: Roanish, Flickr)

Big bang cosmologist believe that the first stars in the universe were what they call Population III stars. These were the stars that allegedly first formed after the big bang. They allegedly were borne with very few elements other than hydrogen and helium. The reason for this is that the big bang itself allegedly could only make hydrogen, helium and a little bit of lithium.

But that presented a problem for big bang cosmology as a viable story for the origin of the universe. Where are all the Population III stars now? Surely some of them must still be around? No … none have been found! As a prediction of the standard big bang model that is a serious problem.

In the recently published story,1,2 astronomers claim that they have found evidence of one of the oldest stars in the universe–a star that lived 13.5 billion years ago–hidden inside a star that’s nearly as old.

But no such 13.5 billion-year-old Pop III was observed. They believe the star that was observed was formed from a Pop III star that had exploded a long time ago. And because the supernova was such a weak explosion most of the stuff that was ejected was sucked back into the observed star, which they claim is its offspring.

But how do they know that there is a star hiding in that star? The article reports:

“The pattern of elements we found in the star in our galaxy reveals traces of its ancestor,” Nordlander added. “That long-dead star exploded as a supernova – a fairly feeble one at that too.

What this means is that the amount of iron detected in the stars was the lowest ever detected. Then with computer simulations they arrived at their conclusion.

This is another feeble attempt at story-telling to support the big bang origin of the universe. The non-existent unobserved Pop III star is allegedly 13.5 billion years old. (That sentence in itself make little sense.) However they did not observe that. It is a case of the story being the most important thing. And whatever they observe has to be fitted into that story.  

The story has now been updated to include the new item. The article states:

“It’s unlikely that any of the universe’s earliest [Pop III] stars survived, but the evidence of an older star found inside [the star they observed] can offer a glimpse into the early days of the universe.”

They assume what they intend to prove. The universe came from the big bang and nothing else can enter the story. So the conclusion here is that the amount of iron and carbon found in the star is evidence for the star harbouring a star that formed 13.5 billion years ago, just 200 million years after the big bang.  Just pure story-telling at its finest.

Reference

1. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, “Evidence of 14B year-old ‘time machine’ star found 35,000 light-years from Earth”, http://www.foxnews.com/science/14b-year-old-star-found-earth;

2. T. Nordlander et al., “The lowest detected stellar Fe abundance: the halo star SMSS J160540.18−144323.1”, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, 488(1): L109–L113, September 2019; https://doi.org/10.1093/mnrasl/slz109

Have Population III stars finally been discovered?

What are Population III stars? In short, the alleged story is as follows:

The super-hot big bang fireball produced only hydrogen (~75%), helium (~25%) and tiny traces of lithium. So the first stars to form (given the name Population III stars) could only form from these gases. Astronomers label all elements heavier than helium as ‘metals.’  Thus they call these type of stars extremely metal-poor. But each successive generation of stars, being formed from the products of supernova explosions of the generation of stars before them, which produced all the heavier elements, became more and more metal rich. The nuclear fusion within stars during their life produced the heavier elements, the ‘metals,’ like carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen, which were released into space when the stars exploded. During the actual explosion it is theorized that the very heaviest elements were produced also. Population III stars allegedly were the first stars formed just shortly after the big bang.

Until now (as claimed) these original stars have never be observed, hence they were nothing more than hypothetical. But their existence is a big bang prediction.

Population I, II and III stars

Astronomers classify stars into three types: Population I, II and III. Population II are those generation of stars, which allegedly formed from the Population III stars and have only a low metal content. Population I stars were allegedly the last to form, hence are the youngest and hottest stars and those with high metal content. Population I and II stars were historically first identified in our Galaxy. Population I stars are found predominantly in the spiral disk of the Galaxy and Population II stars are found above and below the disk. They have other distinguishing features also but their metal content is the major distinguishing feature.

01brightestgalaxy.adapt.1190.1

Figure 1: A newly found galaxy called CR7 (seen here in an artist’s illustration) is the brightest yet known (considering its claimed distance) and may contain some of the oldest stars in the universe. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

Those early-generation stars also first formed into small galaxies that later by merging with other galaxies grew larger, or so the story goes.1  Growth in galaxy size and in ‘metal’ content is called ‘galaxy evolution.’

The first generation of small galaxies was likely well in place 400 million years after the Big Bang. Following this initial phase of galaxy formation, galaxies then went through an extended phase of merging and coalescence with other galaxies, whereby they built up from masses of several thousand solar masses to billions of solar masses. This buildup process extended until the universe was roughly two billion years old. Then, due to some feedback process — now predominantly speculated to be AGN feedback — it is thought that this buildup process halted and gas accretion and star formation in the most massive galaxies halted and galaxies underwent a much different form of evolution. This later evolution continues to the present day.

This is the big bang evolution story, but it vitally needs those Population III stars or there is no story. Now it is claimed that Population III have been found in a very distant galaxy. Continue reading